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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 5

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED OLUME 26, ISSUE 5 15 BY ALAN KARPICK J oe Barry Carroll says people have no idea about what sort of man Eugene Parker was. No idea. "This is no ordinary guy," said Carroll, the All-American who spent two seasons on the hardwood with Parker at Purdue in the 1970s and developed a lifelong personal and professional relationship with. "People need to know who this guy was and how important he was to everyone's life he touched. He is all of everything people said about him but much more." A nationally renowned sports agent and four-year standout for Purdue's men's basketball team (1975-78), Parker died March 31 af- ter a short bout with kidney cancer. "He had a way in a shark's business of keeping his values and keeping his morals and doing it his way," said Coach Matt Painter, among hundreds who attend- ed Parker's funeral April 15 in Fort Wayne. "In a very sticky business, he stayed with what was important to him and his family and faith. That is what jumps out at you about Eugene Parker. "It was his ability to get all the people in his life to realize the importance of faith, the importance of bal- ance, that made him truly special." Former Boilermaker All-America cornerback and NFL Hall-of-Famer Rod Woodson spoke about Parker's quiet persistence during a eulogy of his former agent. "All he would say to me was, 'Have you gotten the phone call?' And I knew what he meant. He didn't dwell on it, he just quietly went about his way," an emotional Woodson said during the funeral. "I finally got the call (to the Hall), and he had everything to do with that." Parker's death hit the entire sports world and the Purdue basketball community very hard. The news was a shock to the system for many people who knew him because, like few in his high-profile pro- fession, Parker valued personal privacy and preferred to remain in the background. That is the reason that people might not fully grasp the magnitude of who he was. "He was so private that we had no idea that he was sick," said Mike Steele, who was two classes ahead of Parker in the Boilermaker backcourt. "That is why this was so heartbreaking, because Eugene is a guy that you 'This Was No Ordinary Guy' Parker's life remembered by his Boilermaker basketball family Getty Images By all accounts, Eugene Parker lived life with grace and humility rarely seen, let alone among those in the sports agency business. Despite being a basketball standout, his clients were almost exclusively football players, including Deion Sanders, who he presented at the 2011 NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony. C O V E R S T O R Y

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