Parker, John Dickerson

John Dickerson "Jackie" Parker, football player (b at Knoxville, Tennessee (US) 1 January 1932; d at Edmonton, Alta 7 Nov 2006). Nicknamed "Ol' Spaghetti Legs," Jackie Parker is considered to be the most successful player in the CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE's history. He began his football career in 1951 with the Mississippi State University Bulldogs, quickly establishing himself as one of the team's foremost quarterbacks and place-kickers. Dubbed the "Fast Freight from Mississippi State," Parker earned several All-Conference and All-American titles during his two year stint as a Bulldog.

Parker moved to Canada to pursue a career in Canadian football in 1954, playing for the EDMONTON ESKIMOS from 1954 to 1962, the TORONTO ARGONAUTS from 1963 to 1965 and the BC LIONS from 1966 to 1968. Parker helped the Eskimos to win three consecutive GREY CUPS, during which he made one of the most famous plays in Canadian football history when he recovered a ball fumbled by MONTREAL ALOUETTES player Chuck Hunsinger and returned it nearly ninety yards for a touchdown, thus helping the team to its first-ever Grey Cup victory. Parker was known as one of the game's greatest offensive players, a skill he continued to offer to subsequent teams like the Argonauts, to whom he was traded 1962 for a total of five players, and the Lions, where he finished his career in 1968.

Following retirement as a player, Parker became the coach and general manager of the Lions from 1969 to 1975. The team, however, failed to flourish under Parker's leadership, and he was let go in 1975. Parker went on to coach the Eskimos from 1983 to 1987, helping them to a Grey Cup victory in 1987. He retired from football a year later, choosing to remain in Canada and eventually assuming an executive position with Interprovincial Steel & Pipe Corporation in Alberta.

Parker earned numerous honours and accolades for his achievements and contribution to football. During Parker's 14 seasons as a CFL player, he won the league's Most Valuable Player award three times, the All-Pro title nine times, and the SCHENLEY AWARD three times. He was inducted into the CFL HALL OF FAME and CANADA'S SPORTS HALL OF FAME.