After Three Decades of Coaching, What’s Next For Jim Parady?

Jim Parady’s desk in the football coaches’ suite of the McCann Center at Marist is typical of a head coach of a Division I football program. Among bobbleheads of NFL Alumni Jason Myers and Terrence Fede, his 2013 Pioneer Football League title ring, and family photos on his desk, a more glaring object is a small notepad with the past ten Win-Loss Records of the Marist Football program scribbled in.

Parady reads off the list of the previous seasons’ conference records on his desk: 5-3, 4-4, 5-3, 3-5, 5-3, 4-4, 4-4, and so on. Either dead even or within a game or two of a .500 record since winning the PFL championship in 2013.

“Right now, [the goal] is to get to a championship level, it really is,” Parady said. “I look at [the records] every day, and I go through each season. There’s one [game] here, there’s one there, and on and on. That’s why when we first started talking about what we need to do to get back there, it’s about those four or five plays in one game.”

Parady is not one to brag about his accomplishments. Entering his 32nd season as the head coach of the program, he’s hit milestones many college coaches wouldn’t dream of. 

The coach has seen a previous PFL championship along with three Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference football championships. Along with being three victories shy of a grand total of 150– and the longest tenured coach in Division I football– the Marist veteran has seen it all. 

So why, after ten years of .500 records in a non-scholarship league and career-completing accolades, is Parady chasing another championship? 

In Parady’s eyes, another championship is far from his own accomplishment. Parady’s mindset of putting his players before himself is preached higher than any philosophy in the entire football program.  It’s a testament to Parady’s extensive career with countless alumni and coaching connections today. 

Photo From Marist Athletics

“I want that for the experience, for our players and our coaches. They work hard here. These guys commit to what we’re asking them to do. I couldn’t be more thankful for that,” Parady said.

One of those Marist graduates, defensive coordinator Scott Rumsey, had a front-row seat watching Parady’s program grow while also forming his own connection to the head coach.

Rumsey first met Parady when he came on the staff as an offensive coordinator in 1991, the last year of previous coach Rick Pardy’s career at Marist. After getting his first gig as a high school coach, Rumsey wanted to pick Parady’s brain on drills and practices. 

From there they formed a mutual respect, where Rumsey would find himself on Parady’s staff seven years after his first meeting. Once he became the defensive coordinator in 2000, Rumsey became Parady’s right-hand man. He understood his place in Parady’s staff, and the two never got in each other’s way. 

“When he hired me way back when, he said ‘I’m hiring you to do your job, don’t make me do it,’
and I took that to heart,” Rumsey said.

Rumsey credited Parady for allowing him to grow as a defensive coach, mentioning that during games, Parady never interferes with Rumsey’s play calling and instills trust in his two-decade-long partner on defense. Far beyond coaching, Rumsey credited Parady for helping him grow as a person, a husband, and a father.

“You get taken away from your family so much, because we work so many hours,” Rumsey said. “Anytime there was an opportunity that I could go to a game, get my kids off the bus, obviously make every big event that they had, Coach Parady was always like, you’ve got to do that.”

Above football, family is the most important emphasis of Parady’s program as well as his own life. 

Parady’s father, Ken Parady was his first high school coach at Nashua High in New Hampshire. His sister, Vicki Parady-Guay, was a football coach and now athletic director of Sanborn High School in his home state. His daughter Sarah was a class of 2017 Marist graduate and is now the Director of On-Campus Recruiting for Football at Navy.

Despite his family’s close connection to football, Parady is a family man first. For someone whose life has revolved around Marist football for 30 years, there is hardly any Marist football paraphernalia in his home.

“He did such a phenomenal job with that; he separates work for work and family for family,” Sarah Parady said. “When he was home with us, he was home with us, he wasn’t on his phone.”

“This job is very, very important to me, but it’s second most important thing in my life,”
Coach Parady said. “My family is first and that’s the way that we conduct the office. Anything family comes first here; we will take care of each other’s jobs if something comes up family-wise.”

Though the two are separate, family and football blend. His wife of 34 years, Kristen, has supported him through his entire career at Marist whether it be on the sidelines at Tenney or with him on the road.

“I couldn’t do this job without my wife being so understanding to the demands of the job,” Parady said. “There’s just no way, which is why I try not to bring the job home with me.”

While his kids also got the opportunity to watch their father command different Marist football squads over the years, his daughter Sarah got a close-up experience during her time at Marist as a volunteer equipment manager.

“Obviously, our family is super important to him. But I think his players and staff are just as equally important to him,” Sarah Parady said. “When I was young, I felt like I had 110 big brothers. And then I’m in college, and I had 110 friends, and now it’s like I have 110 little brothers because I’ve aged out of it.”

With so many athletes comes a large alumni network that helps players focus on their future careers. Graduate student Mike Arrington, enrolled in the Integrated Marketing Communication for his fifth year at Marist, credits Parady’s coaching for shaping him into a better person during his college career.

“He always emphasizes that his goal is to prepare you for the next level, whether that’s going to the NFL or going to the professional world,” Arrington said. “He wants to help mold you and shape you into a decent human. It’s like core values that can carry on with you for a lifetime.”

Even when Arrington tested the waters of the transfer portals to further explore his academic and athletic options at a higher level, Parady expressed to Arrington during his Marist career to make the best decisions for himself personally. Arrington mentioned it was a dream of his to play at a school on scholarship, but when things didn’t work out in the portal, it was like he never left.

“I think that really speaks to his character and just him welcoming us back with open arms. It’s just a huge thing, and that’s what you look for in a coach,” said Arrington.

This is the 13th season Marist Football has played in the Pioneer Football League, one of the few conferences that do not grant athletic scholarships to players. Nevertheless, Parady is more focused on making sure they can be a top threat in the PFL so that his players and coaching staff can taste a championship.

“I like the Pioneer League; I think it gives us an advantage in recruiting because we play across the country,” Parady said. “I would love to see [the program] go to scholarship football. Maybe the Patriot League because it’s a nice fit for Marist as an institution, but that’s well above me.”

So back to the question: Why does Parady keep searching for another championship in the PFL? 

“You can talk to the guys who have won championships,” Parady said. “You can see how special it is. It kind of fades a little bit for me, but you can see in their mind, it’s going to be something they’re going to take for their whole life.”

Another question worth asking is why Parady has stayed at Marist for over three decades as a head coach. The answer lies in the people that surround him, a Marist football community that he gives back to every day.

“It’s the people on campus,” said Parady.  “The mission of the school really lines up with what I want out of life and what I want for our kids to get out of their experience. I probably had six different job interviews in places I had opportunities to go. But this is better than what I’m getting into on the outside.”

Photo from Marist Athletics

Just like the last 31 years, Parady enters the next season with the same goals and structure in mind. Though Marist has provided him with a career and a stable life balance for his family, there is always more work to be done to improve his players’ situation. 

Whether that means striving for a championship or improving his players’ careers, Parady has enjoyed every moment of the journey.

Edited By Luke Sassa and Jonathan Kinane

Photos from Marist Athletics

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