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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 5

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Page 7 of 92

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED OLUME 26, ISSUE 5 8 COMING TO MY SENSES I am not sure Drew Brees ever met Eugene Parker. It is possible the two crossed paths at some point when Brees was choosing an agent in 2001. I don't know, and during Drew's mid-April visit to campus, I didn't think to ask. One thing I feel with relative certainty, however, is they are two men, had the fates allowed, that would have built a strong relationship. I just have that sense. A life of greater calling, doing things for others before oneself, was a com- mon thread between the two. But, sadly, the fates didn't allow. Parker's life was cut short way too soon, due to a bout with cancer, March 31. Parker made a difference, yes, in the sports world, but more importantly in the world of do- ing right by others. So when it came time to choose the cover of this issue, a picture of Brees was the first choice. We were going to honor the life of Parker with a story (Page 12) and maybe with a commemorative photo in the front of the issue. That was before I spoke with Parker's longtime friend, business associate and teammate Joe Barry Carroll. "You mean to tell me that you aren't going to honor the life of Eugene Parker on the cover?" Carroll said during a phone conversation. He was laughing, but I could tell he was serious. "People everywhere need to know how special and important this guy was," Carroll said. "Don't miss your chance to do this, Alan." Carroll was in no way disrespecting Brees and the importance of what he is doing for Purdue and the world. But ... I am glad I listened to Carroll. Part of this magazine's mission is to tell the stories of the great people in Purdue athletics, both in what they do on the field, but more importantly (at least to me), in the impact they have in making life better for others off it. We were too late on Eugene Parker. That one is on me. Yet, I am grateful for having the opportunity to have known Parker for 40-plus years and Brees for the last 20 — not well but well enough. The way they handle(d) themselves has impacted the way I try to live. It is an example for all to follow. You know all about Brees — his stories are well-documented, as they deserve to be. But you need to know about Parker, a man that had an impact that is difficult to measure, but extremely rare and important still the same. They are, and were, the best. From Publisher Alan Karpick This fall on your computer and mobile device Special guests, analysis and more 2 P.M. FRIDAYS Trent Johnson, Agent Gold and Black LIVE featuring the staff of Interactive live video-stream sports talk show — ask questions, chat with other fans! For schedule visit the college page on

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