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Former Mohawk College women’s baseball coach Doug Parry leaves a legacy

Doug Parry is a retired steelworker who coached the women’s baseball team at Mohawk College starting in 1986.

“I was given a great honour when Mohawk started their softball team,” Parry said. “I heard Mohawk was starting a women’s softball team so I was interested. When it started up I was the assistant coach and the next year I became the head coach.” 

He has won multiple awards for his contributions to athletics between 1986 and his leaving the college in 2000.

Parry was inducted into Mohawk College’s Hall of Fame in 2006 for his contributions to women’s baseball.

“I told them I couldn’t do it anymore because I held a union position,” Parry said. “It was coming up for election and if I lost the election I would have been back on shifts working weekends. So I said goodbye and it was a hard thing to do.”

After leaving Mohawk, Parry became head coach for McMaster’s women’s softball team from 2000-2009. 

“I went down to Mac [McMaster] …” Parry said. “They said ‘Yeah, we want to start a softball team.’ And I put the word out, we had a meeting in Oshawa for the university level and we started with eight teams that’s how I got from Mohawk to Mac.”

Parry is a trailblazer and believer in women’s fastball, having founded the Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association (OIWFA) in 2000.

“My last game coaching for Mohawk, there were two girls in the stands from York University,” Parry said. “They were sent by someone from the Toronto area to talk to me to see if I could help get university softball started because there wasn’t university softball back then.”

Despite being retired from coaching today, Parry remains active in the women’s fastball community. He still finds time to support both Mohawk’s and McMaster’s teams.

“I look at Mohawk and Mac as both being my babies, and the university league,” Parry said.” So I go to as many Mohawk and Mac games as I can.” 

The OIWFA league celebrated Parry’s contributions to women’s fastball by naming an award after him. 

“The university league, when I retired in 2009, implemented an award in my name and I’m not even dead yet,” Parry said. “It’s called the Doug Parry MVP of the championship game.” 

Parry had a long career in coaching and contributing to the sport.

“Doug has been instrumental in women’s fastball in Hamilton,” Dusty Vacon, a former baseball player at Mohawk College from 1997-1999 said. “Starting the Mohawk College varsity team, coaching many recreational and competitive teams in Hamilton and starting the university league at McMaster University. None would have been possible without Doug’s commitment and dedication.”

Parry inspired many people throughout his coaching career. 

“To know women’s softball in Hamilton was to know Doug Parry,” Vacon said. “Doug introduced me to so many people and opportunities in fastball. Not only was he a mentor, coach, and manager he was also a friend.” 

“Doug was a great coach,” Wendy Makey, a former fastball player at Mohawk from 1991-1993 said. “He was passionate about women’s baseball and committed to the development of his players. Doug took time to get to know each of his players as an athlete and a person. He knew their skill set, how he could help them develop and the best way they could support the team.” 

Parry coached women’s softball for 36 years. 

“A lot of good memories,” Parry reflected. “I’ve always lived by a motto of ‘I want to be a coach, not a critic’ and every year I coached I always learned something.” 

 

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