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Bill Parker had a great career as the quarterback for the Yellowjaackets’ football team, before he graduated from East Haven High School in 1977. In November, Bill will be inducted into the East Haven Alumni Association Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of Bill Parker )
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When the East Haven Alumni Association holds its 32nd annual Hall of Fame ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 18, Bill Parker will be inducted for his contributions as a three-sport athlete with the Yellowjackets. Bill, a Class of 1977 graduate who saw tremendous success on the football field, is going to continue a family tradition when he’s enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Bill’s older sister Jennifer was inducted in 1989.
“It means a lot. My sister was one of the first inductees into the Hall of Fame, and there have been quite a few multiple family members inducted. I played sports against her growing up, and she went All-State in two or three sports, so she was always a good role model to me,” says Bill, who lives in East Haven. “This brings back some good memories. I really had some fond memories playing football for East Haven. It means a lot to finally be voted in. Now, with the inception of Facebook, a lot of my friends in my class know about this. It’s a big honor.”
Bill played football and basketball and also did outdoor track at East Haven. As a member of the football team, Bill had the opportunity to play for legendary coach Frank Crisafi. Bill served as the team’s lone captain in his senior year and viewed that distinction as a huge honor.
“I was named a solo captain for East Haven football. I didn’t do the research about any others, but it’s usually two, three, or four captains,” Bill says. “The class ahead of me voted, and it was overwhelming that I’d be the captain and leader, so that was very important to me.”
One of Bill’s best friends on the team was Pete Ciopryna, a fellow 1977 graduate. Ciopryna says that Bill’s selfless demeanor made him a great leader both on and off the field.
“Bill was a take-charge guy. He would never put anyone down. He would never once yell at anyone for missing a block or running the wrong route. He always had a cool, calm, collected head, and that’s one thing I always loved about Bill,” says Ciopryna. “Bill was never one to point fingers at anyone. He’d put it all on his shoulders, and that’s why the guys all looked up to him. It was never about Bill. Even after games, he never spoke about what he did; he always talked about what everyone else did on the drive. He was just all about the team and a very hard worker.”
As East Haven’s quarterback, Bill led a triple-option attack that helped the Yellowjackets defeat top-ranked Derby 42-38 during his senior year. His father, Bill Parker, Sr., was a member of Crisafi’s coaching staff and helped develop an offensive attack in which Bill thrived.
“He introduced the wishbone with the triple option, and it worked well. We did it my junior and senior year, and it was so good that the camera man filming the games wouldn’t know who would have the ball, and they’d follow a running back down the field when I had run around the corner,” Bill says. “My fullback, Joe Streeto, rushed for well over 1,000 yards my senior year and scored a lot of touchdowns. If that option was shut down, I’d be able to run or pitch it to my running back. It was a very interesting option, and we had a very good, high-powered offense that scored a lot of points.”
For his achievements on the football field, Bill was named to All-Housatonic Team, recognized by the New Haven Gridiron Club as the Most Outstanding High School Player in the Greater New Haven area, and was also named the area’s Most Valuable Player by the Yale Club. On top of that, Bill was selected as a State of Connecticut Scholar and a Football Foundation Scholar Athlete, receiving both the Harvard Book Award and the Daughter of the American Revolution Award. Bill graduated from Yale University in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in administrative science.
Through all the wins and losses, Bill says that competing for East Haven played a big part in making him the person that he is today.
“I just liked the competition. I’m a pretty competitive person,” says Bill. “Winning was great, losing stuck, but it was all a part of the experience. It shaped me and taught me a lot of life lessons.”
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