All in the family: father and son coach regional champions

Published 8:15 pm Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Northside athletic director Jared Adams had a plan in mind when he approached Panthers assistant baseball coach Parker Boyd at a coaches clinic in Greensboro last summer.

Adams needed a softball coach and had decided on who it was going to be, but the pieces had to fall into place. He asked veteran baseball and football coach Keith Boyd to return to his roots and lead the softball team, then requested that Parker Boyd move up to be head baseball coach.

Both said yes, setting off an improbable, barely believable chain of events that led both programs to East Regional titles and put the father and son coaching duo in the 1A state finals this weekend in Durham and Holly Springs.

“This is more amazing that anything you could write for a movie,” Keith Boyd said. “The players on both teams came together and worked extremely hard to be in this spot, but the stars also had to align and they did. I couldn’t be prouder of Parker and all the kids. This is truly an amazing experience for the Northside community.”

Both knew their teams would be good after deep playoff runs last year, but neither saw it working out like this.

“My dad left me a really good team and I’ve coached these guys since they were freshmen, so it was a really smooth transition,” Parker Boyd said. “The practice and game routine is basically the same. The only difference is the guys are hearing my voice more often. To win the East in my first year is really cool, but I never thought both teams would do it.”

Northside teams have been hearing Keith Boyd’s voice since he started the softball program in the mid 1990’s. His 1999 and 2001 teams won the East, and he took over the baseball team in 2007.

All the while, Parker, the eldest of his three sons, who will turn 24 next month, was watching and taking mental notes.

Brothers Carter (21) and Keifer (20) joined Parker in playing football and baseball for their father at Northside and both helped out as coaches, but Parker made it his profession.

“When he was in seventh grade, he told us he wanted to teach and coach,” his mother, Renee, said. “Keith never forced any of them to play, but he always played with them in the yard and there’s always been some kind of game on the TV at our house. Our boys played every sport growing up, so it’s always been a big part of our family’s life and I’m going to be a nervous wreck this weekend.”

After playing football at Chowan University for a year, Parker transferred to East Carolina and graduated in 2023 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in University Studies and his teaching certificate.

He’s followed Renee into teaching Special Education at Northside and continued to assist Keith with the football team.

“I always thought I would take over for him when he retired, not coach his former team while he was still around,” Parker said. “I’ve learned so much just by watching him over the years and I think he’s one of the best coaches in the state. He’s always worked hard to get the most out of his players and his game prep is amazing. During football season, we wouldn’t see him on Sunday until supper time because he would be watching film and taking notes all day. I’m happier for him than I am for myself because I know how much he’s put into this softball season.”

Renee has been bouncing between games with softball on the road and baseball at home for much of the post-season and this weekend will be no different.

“I’ll be glad when Sunday gets here, but it’s been an amazing spring,” she said. “I’m so proud of Keith for how hard he’s worked his whole career and of how he has let Parker do his own thing with what was his team until this year. They have a mutual love and respect that is really special and that’s all a wife and mom could ask for.”