Before the bench
Parker was born in Somerville, Mass., and attended Catholic Memorial High in West Roxbury. After graduating in 1964, Parker attended Boston University and played center for the ice hockey team. Parker and the team won three Beanpot championships and played in the NCAA tournament twice, placing fourth and then second.
After graduating from BU, Parker spent one year coaching Medford High School before returning to BU as a coaching assistant to his former college coach, Jack Kelley.
The Terriers won consecutive NCAA championships in 1971 and 1972 and after Kelley retired, Parker was promoted to B-team coach. When his predecessor, Leon Abbott, was fired, Parker stepped up as head coach.