Ron Parson, head basketball coach at George Washington High School for the past four seasons, made his retirement from coaching and teaching official Tuesday.
After flirting with retirement after the 2015-16 season and considering pulling his retirement paperwork he filed earlier this year, Parson finally decided the time was right.
The primary motive behind Parson’s decision was to spend more time with his wife of 42 years, Debra. Over the past two years, the pair has spent more time apart than ever, as she moved to Charlotte with plans of her husband moving soon afterward. Parson intends to move to Charlotte as soon as the school year ends.
“[Family] was it 100 percent,” Parson said of the reason for his retirement. “I think we had a really good team coming in. It was just time to move on.”
While GW did not win a state title during Parson’s tenure that began in 2013, the Eagles were as consistently successful as any team in the state. The Eagles went 87-29 over the past four years, appearing in four consecutive Group 4A state semifinals, a feat no other team in Virginia — regardless of group — achieved during the same time frame.
However, Parson revealed his greatest accomplishment at GW was revamping the reputation of the program off the court and in the classroom. GW won a Virginia High School League sportsmanship award as a team this past season while maintaining a grade-point-average of 3.0 this past season, a massive improvement from the 1.7 team-wide GPA Parson said he inherited when he took the job.
“Both of my state championship teams [at Reidsville High School in North Carolina], had 3.0 GPAs,” Parson said. “Those two things go hand-in-hand.”
He leaves the program in good shape on the court as well. Despite the top 11 scorers from the 2016-17 squad that went 22-5 and lost to eventual state champion Loudoun Valley set to graduate, plenty of young talent is on the way. The junior varsity Eagles went 22-0, winning every game by double figures.
Before taking the reigns at GW, Parson spent 23 seasons at Reidsville, cementing himself as a top coach by winning state titles in 1994 and 2003. He also had short stints at Cummings High School, Hoke County High School and Halifax County High School.
Parson was also an assistant at GW from 2008-11 before taking a break from coaching altogether for two years, thinking that part of his career was over. But when the GW job opened in 2013, administrators approached Parson, who was still a physical education and driver’s education teacher at the school.
“I think that break really rejuvenated me,” Parson said. “I really wasn’t looking to get back into coaching. But four years ago I was asked if I could help out again, so I decided to get back into it.”
GW has not announced a successor to Parson, but he believes his lead assistant for the past few years, David Lee, should be a top candidate.
In retirement, Parson will not only spend more time with his wife, but also his three children and seven grandchildren. He also did not rule out the possibility of returning to coaching in the right situation, saying he believes he can still coach for another four-five years.