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Ray Anderson: Influence Of High School Freshman Coach Lloyd Parkson

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Ray Anderson (@SunDevilRay23) is Arizona State University’s Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director. His prior position (2006-2013) was Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the National Football League. He received both the 2015 Paul J. Tagliabue Award and the John Wooten Lifetime Achievement Award, two of the NFL’s most prestigious honors. His earlier career included practices in law and as a sports agent, capitalizing on his juris doctorate degree from Harvard Law School and his experience lettering in baseball and football at Stanford University, where he earned a political science degree.

Here, Anderson recalls how his high school freshman football coach, Lloyd Parkson, influenced him for life. One of the key moments was when Coach Parkson, a Marine who'd fought at Iwo Jima, made it clear to Anderson and his teammates that their team was only as good as the least skilled player among them. Understanding the importance of teammates supporting each other in that context stuck with Anderson for life.