May 30, 2019
By: Courtney DuPont
Ever notice how some high school programs manage to produce quality teams
year after year? Dating back to 1974, the Parkland Trojans have won 15
state championships, 163 district titles and 279 conference titles. The
Trojans are currently ranked the 23rd best sports program in the state of
Pennsylvania according to the Patch Nation Staff. Easton, Emmaus, Liberty
and Bethlehem Catholic all made the top 100 as well. So the question is,
how do they do it?
Here’s a theory composed of three key factors:
A quality coach makes a bad team serviceable, a good team great, and a
great team unstoppable. Glen Ray coached softball at Parkland High School
from 1984-2009 and was inducted into Parkland’s Hall of Fame in 2014. Ray
won 15 conference finals, 6 district titles and 3 state championships. His
ability to motivate his athletes throughout the years while keeping
extremely high expectations is the reason why Ray was successful. When
athletes buy into a coach’s method and message, the team moves as a unit.
They focus on the little things, just as much as the big things, and
ultimately have the same goal. Win.
It’s not rocket science, it’s probability. Larger schools have more
students participating in their athletic programs, which increases their
chances of striking gold (aka a standout student-athlete). Parkland had
3,227 students enrolled last year with 800 seniors. Of those seniors, six
received full rides to D1 programs, while an additional 12 students
received partial athletic scholarships. To put that in perspective, only 2%
high school seniors in the country continue their athletic careers in D1
programs. 2.25% of the Trojan senior class made it to the next level in
Not only do successful sports programs need gifted athletes within, but
they also need their neighbors to be competitive. Magic Johnson once said,
“If you’re a competitive person, that stays with you. You don’t stop. You
always look over your shoulder.” In other words, being surrounded by
talented programs makes talented programs more talented. FULL CIRCLE. As I
mentioned earlier, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty and Bethlehem Catholic all
appear in the top 100 sports programs too. Plus, they all play Parkland
multiple times a year in every sport… the best, get better.
So no, the best programs don’t just get lucky year after year. Quality
coaching, big numbers, and the right location will produce long lasting
success. Just ask Parkland.