Coach Parnell Making a Difference at South Medford High School

By day, Chris Parnell travels the streets of Jackson County, Oregon as a gas service representative for Avista. After work, he eagerly heads to South Medford High School, where he transforms into ‘Coach Parnell’ for the Panthers. Thousands of young athletes in southern Oregon have benefited from his passion for athletics, including his own two sons.

“I think I have something to offer,” Chris smiled. “Kids need men who are role models. I’m a regular dude who works hard and believes in giving back to my community.”

Chris is looking forward to his 32nd season coaching high school athletics. Come August, he’ll hit the field with 120 football players as the Defensive Coordinator for the varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. After the football season, Chris will move inside to coach freshman basketball and then head back outside in the spring for track.

Raised in Oakland, California and after graduating from high school there, Chris moved north to play football for Oregon Tech. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Southern Oregon State College.

“When I was done playing college ball, I still had the bug,” Chris explained. “I wanted to stay close to athletics and connected to football so I landed a high school coaching position. It’s been such a blast to have played a part in so many young lives over the years.”

Collectively, Avista employees log nearly 50,000 volunteer hours every year with more than 500 community organizations.

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