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Lifelong Knights fan bleeds blue
Johnson High School graduation coach Michael Parker watches from the sidelines during the Knights’ Sept. 11 game against Chestatee. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

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Michael Parker, a Johnson High School alumni and current teacher and coach, has always been a big fan of the Knights’ sports teams, to the extent that he says “I bleed blue!”

“When I was in school, I almost never missed a game,” he said.

His wife, Krystal, also a proud graduate of Johnson High, said “If there’s a game, you better believe we’re going to be there.”

After graduating from Johnson in 2000, Parker went on to Gainesville College (now Gainesville State College) and then to North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, where he struggled to find a career path that fit.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to be around young people,” he said.

Parker’s urge to help young people prompted him to go into education. “I taught U.S. history and government until I moved into this role as graduation coach,” he said.

As graduation coach, his goal is to help students reach their goals and earn their diploma.

“If they see me at their games, if they see me pat them on their back there, then they know I’ll pat them on their back in school, too,” he said.

Said Krystal Parker, “I’m proud of the fan he is because he encourages his students and supports them. ... He makes it a point to attend many games so that he is able to tell the students how proud he is of them.”

Michael Parker also coaches a couple of sports, including basketball and cross country.

“Coaching is just another way to influence young people,” he said. “I think it’s important to instill some values in young people,” he said.

He said he uses athletics to teach life lessons to his students. “You can learn so much from the football field or the basketball court that translate into success.

“Besides the competition (of sports) aspect that I thoroughly enjoy, I love seeing kids succeed.”

And, as he says, bleeds Johnson blue.

“I went to school here. I grew up when I was in middle and elementary school hanging around watching sporting events here,” Parker said. “While it’s (Johnson High School) been through a lot of changes since I’ve been in school, there’s still a core here that bleeds blue ... and I believe in being loyal and that’s what I try instill in the students.”