Gillus out as Parker returns to Southampton sideline

Published 11:09 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Littleton Parker III will replace Willie Gillus as the head coach of the Southampton Indians football team, Southampton County Public School Superintendent Dr. Alvera J. Parrish announced on Monday. Gillus’ contract was not extended, as each of the district’s coaches are renewed annually.

“Coach Gillus did a wonderful job for us, and we’re very pleased with his service over the last three years,” Parrish said, “But, we’re real excited about what coach Parker brings to the table.”

A 1970 graduate of Hayden High School, Parker won six Peanut and Bay Rivers district championships as Southampton’s head coach from 1988 through 2009. After receiving his degree from Norfolk State College in 1975 — four years before it was granted university status — Parker began his career as a health and physical education teacher at Southampton High. He moved into administration in 1990 as the assistant principal and athletic director, positions that he held until he retired in 2013. In addition to his duties on the gridiron, Parker had stints as the baseball and boys and girls basketball coach; the latter a position which he currently holds.

“He has a proven track record,” Parrish said. “He led teams — when they were the Big Red Machine — to district, regional and state championships. He also has the integrity and moral values that we at Southampton County Public Schools share.”

Having played at the collegiate and professional ranks, there were high expectations surrounding Gillus’ tenure.

“It’s time to get the Big Red Machine rolling again,” he said at his introductory press conference in 2013. “I am not here just to coach a team, I am here to build a program.”

Gillus, who was 10-23 in three seasons in Courtland, was paid $7,800 annually for his coaching duties. He also held the position of an academic success specialist at the high school, earning $52,000 per year. The position will be cut as part of the school’s 2016-17 budget.

“[We have to make cuts] to sustain teaching positions,” Parrish said. “Our goal is to continuously address class size and do all we can to maintain the best possible learning experience and environment for our students … We can’t keep everything. Our priorities are our children.”

Gillus declined to comment on Tuesday.