‘Legendary’ Jim Parry honored by Orion community

Jim Parry served the Orion School District for over 50 years
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 10:31 PM CST
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ORION, Ill. (KWQC) - For over five decades, Jim Parry was synonymous with Orion athletics.

“He’s been truly an amazing individual,” said Chad Bahnks, Orion Middle school principal.

Perry coached football for more than 50 years, basketball for over 35 years, and helped start the girls’ junior high track team.

“The word legendary keeps floating around about Jim,” Bahnks said. “He’s been in the district and worked for the district for 50 years. The opportunities he’s given kids here in Orion are unmatched by anyone.”

Parry said he did not go into coaching for the fame.

“[It’s about] being around the kids, having fun with them, and when I was a teacher they knew that I liked to have fun,” Parry said. “They knew that was what education was about.”

Orion residents and former players wrote personal notes to Parry for all of his dedication and awarded him a lifetime achievement award.

“It’s a special moment for Mr. Perry and his family, and it is great for our community,” said Larry Anderson, who was mentored by Parry. “He’s been an inspiration to me. He sends me text messages before every game and after every game, sometimes immediately after the game, and congratulates us when we play well.”

It’s clear Parry has left a lasting legacy on generations of Orion chargers.

“He’s been around a long time. He’s always around. I mean, he’s dedicated a lot [of effort] to the players and the game,” said Chris Moody, one of Parry’s former players.

Parry said the key to sticking around the same district for over 50 years is the people.

“The way I’ve been treated here by the school board and the administration, and the town people [has been great,]” Parry said.

Bahnks said that Parry will always be remembered for the way he encouraged kids, and for the way he inspired them to be the best version of themselves.