As a member of the Board of Directors of San Francisco State University’s Gridiron Club Hall of Fame, every year, we go through the selection process for former players and coaches.
Candidates are placed on a ballot for review and then voted on. Some of the more notable inductees over the years are Andy Reid and Tom Melvin from the Kansas City Chiefs, Mike Holmgren and Gil Haskell of the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Bill Baird of the New York Jets, and Peoria’s own Greg Allen.
The event is held in San Francisco on-site at the University and is attended by former players, coaches, and their guests. It’s a grand affair that brings together old teammates, some dating back to the early 1960s. We reminisce about our experiences on and off the field and end the day by walking the grounds of the campus. Last month at this year’s ceremony, I had the opportunity to present Doug Parrish, an awesome young man, for his induction.
Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Doug spent part of his formative years in Madison, Wisconsin. As a defensive back in high school, he was selected as a Blue Chip All-American at the conclusion of his senior year. Upon graduation, he headed West to play for Taft Junior College before transferring to UC Berkeley. As a Cal Bear, Doug excelled on the field as a defensive back leading the team in interceptions in both the 1988 and 89 seasons. After experiencing hardship, as with many underclass students, in 1990, he transferred across the Bay to San Francisco State University.
He continued his star defense there and excelled as a kick return specialist, becoming the All-Time Division II record holder with 1002 yards on 35 attempts, averaging 28.6 yards every time he touched the ball. After the season, he was selected to play in both the All-American and Blue Gray Bowl Games. In 1991, Doug was drafted by the New York Jets as the 175th pick in the NFL Draft. He finished his pro football career playing in the Canadian Football League, starring for the Edmonton Eskimos. In 1993, the Eskimos won the Grey Cup, the equivalent of the Super Bowl here in the US.
After hanging up his cleats, Doug resettled back to San Francisco as an entrepreneur and sought to find a way to make his city better by putting people to work. He is now President and CEO of Red Dipper Inc., a contracting firm that installs electrical equipment throughout the city. He also sits on the Boards of the University of California Small and Diverse Business Council as well as the UCSF Anchor institute.
A very humble young man, Doug Parrish is that exceptional individual that can be said to be more than just a football player.