ALTON - David Parker, a former assistant coach at Hazelwood East, Webster Groves and St. Louis University High, was hired as the new head football coach at Alton in a recent meeting of the Board of Education, and he's raring to get started as the new coach of the Redbirds.

Parker is replacing Eric Dickerson, who stepped down as head coach after seven seasons, and he has a passion and enthusiasm for both football and young people.

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"I have a passion for football," Parker said in a recent interview. "I was a volunteer coach at Marquette (Catholic), and I happened to catch some of Alton's games and I had a look at (Public School) stadium. All those guys in the Southwestern Conference, which I consider to be the best league in the state and when I saw that there was an opening, I thought it was a good chance for myself in coaching against the other coaches in the conference and competing against the other teams."

Parker is very much looking forward to going against the team in the Southwestern Conference and competing against the league's coaches.

"Very much so," Parker said. "I love competing against what I consider the best and see what our guys can do."

Parker is also looking forward to meeting his new players and seeing what they can do on the field as well.

"I can't wait to meet the players," Parker said. "I've already got my hands on the Hudl account and I'm now evaluating the film and the players."

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When it comes to football philosophy, Parker is guided by one single word - consistency.

"My philosophy is that we have to have a level of consistency about how things are done," Parker said, "a sense of responsibility and a passion for learning in the classroom as well as on the field."

Parker was the defensive coordinator for the Hazelwood East team that won the Missouri Class 5 title in 2008, which he described as a great experience with both the players and other coaches.

"We had a lot of good guys who worked hard," Parker said, "and a lot of coaches who put in the extra time."

Parker is looking forward to getting the off-season conditioning program started along with establishing positive relationships with his players.

"Right now, we're getting ready for our off-season strengthening and conditioning," Parker said. "Over the summer, you've got those 25 contact days, where we can get the kids into shape and it gives us an opportunity as a coaching staff to see what we're working with and also for our players to learn about the new coach. And that's where we begin to learn to build trust and respect for each other."

The Redbirds season opens at home on Aug. 26 at home against Cahokia, and Parker already has the date circled on his calendar.

"We're all about going out there and giving it our all," Parker said. "And we can't wait for opening night."

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