Many Americans were shocked to learn that a former NFL star turned high school principal passed away this week at the age of 49.
Richmond, Virginia’s NBC 12 reported on Friday that Riddick Parker “died unexpectedly Friday morning while bicycling.”
The station quoted a statement regarding Parker’s death by Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras which read, “Mr. Parker gave his FULL heart and soul to the students of Wythe and will be dearly missed.”
I’m absolutely devastated to share that Riddick Parker, Principal of George Wythe HS, has passed away. Mr. Parker gave his FULL heart & soul to the students of Wythe and will be dearly missed. Details are forthcoming on a memorial service. Please keep his family in your prayers.
— Jason Kamras (@JasonKamras) August 19, 2022
“The next few days are going to be difficult for everyone, but I know the Bulldogs will rally together and push on – as Principal Parker would want them to do,” Kamras added.
He went on to announce that mental health services will continue to be available at George Wythe High School on Monday for those in need of grief counseling.
“Game day is a testing day. So, when we get down to the nine-week assessments, we get down to SOL assessments, to us, that’s our Super Bowl,” said Parker, who was then working as an assistant principal at Armstrong High School.
“Teaching is coaching,” he continued. “You’re looking at when you’re doing wrong, what you can improve upon and then putting together a game plan in place to make sure that happens.”
The station noted that before becoming a teacher, Parker had a professional football career that saw him play for the New England Patriots during its 2001 Super Bowl season.
Originally hailing from Emporia, Virginia, Parker studied at the University of North Carolina after which he turned pro in 1997.
In addition to the New England Patriots, Parker also played for the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens before his retirement in 2003.