Apr. 15—Matt Parker isn't one to keep up with some of his career milestones, as he admits he's more focused on the game in front of him and how to best help his players succeed.
But luckily for him, Parker said he's got a few people helping him keep track of such a thing, as he surpassed 400 career wins as a coach on April 8 with a 7-3 win on the road at Connors State College.
"(Assistant) coach (Noe) Ruiz has been with me long enough that he sees some of those, and my wife (Lindsey) keeps track of some of those things," Parker said. "Obviously, it's great, and a lot of people have messaged about it."
The Eastern Oklahoma State College head coach stayed ever humble when talking about the feat, and his quick wit wasted no time in giving his honest thoughts about reaching 400 wins.
"There's two things on that. Number one just means that I'm older than I thought I was to hang around that long," Parker said with a smile. "And the other side is — I've told a lot of people this, and it's true — that I've managed to find players and assistant coaches that could overcome my coaching."
"They could just 'yes sir!', and then they could go overcome my inabilities as a coach," he continued. "I mean, it's cool, I love it. But I think more to all the successful people that we've had and they way they've gone about their business."
Parker began his college head coaching career at Oklahoma Wesleyan in 2012, compiling 325 wins for the Eagles, included four conference championships and two NAIA World Series appearances.
He became the new coach of the Mountaineers in 2018, and has now eclipsed 400 wins — and counting — with just more than 140 losses in his total career. But still, Parker gave a lot of the credit to the assistant coaches and players that have been by his side throughout the years.
"It's cool to get that and realize, man, this is the only job I've ever wanted was to coach college baseball. And to work at it, and know how hard our players and coaches work," he said. "We've been ultra fortunate with the players we've had, especially for them to trust us. Early on at Oklahoma Wesleyan and I was 27 years old, I tell everybody that I was ready to be the boss, and I was the man. And 30 minutes into that first day, I realized I was not the man and I am not ready for this job. Yet those guys hung with me and trusted me enough. Whether that was right or wrong of them, I appreciate the heck out of it."
And Parker said that trust extended into his move to Wilburton to take over the program at EOSC. He knew he was inheriting a successful program, and is grateful for the continued support from those around him. He said that's the reason he's been able to see continuing success in his career, and for the classes of Mountaineers that are coming through the program.
"They had a successful year the year before, and then a new staff comes in," Parker said. "The recruits now that have trusted us to help them continue their career here, to buy into what we're doing, and to win at the pace they've won at, I think it's tremendous."
Contact Derek Hatridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.