The resurgence of Mississippi State football has been fueled largely by the stellar play of quarterback Dak Prescott. Before Dak, however, there was “Jack” … as in Jackie Parker.
Parker, who was married and older than the other players, was originally turned away by Bulldog coaches in 1952 as coach Murray Warmath had an internal policy against married players. Parker found a home on the Mississippi State baseball team where he excelled at shortstop. A switch to the Split-T offense for the Bulldogs on the gridiron left them in need of an athletic quarterback to guide the attack, and Parker fit the bill.
He was named as an All-SEC performer in 1952 and 1953, as well as an All-American in 1953. In 1952, he led the NCAA in points scored with 120, a mark that would stand as an SEC record for 40 years.
After college, Parker declined more lucrative offer to play for the New York Giants and joined the Edmonton Eskimos and helped build a dynasty in the Canadian Football League. He won six straight Jeff Nicklin Memorial Awards honoring the best player in the West Conference and was an eight-time CFL All-Star (three times as a running back and five times as a quarterback). He finished his career as the CFL’s all-time leading scorer with 750 points.
Following his playing career, Parker served as a coach and general manager for both the BC Lions and Edmonton Eskimos before moving on to a career as an executive with Interprovincial Steel & Pipe Corporation.