Mike Parkinson
Photo by Steve Whitmore

Mike Parkinson, former So Pas High track head coach and standout track star before that, has agreed to take over the South Pasadena High School cross country program.

The cross country program under coach Jose Soto has excelled over the years and Parkinson is committed to continue that winning tradition.

“I’ve always been part of the program just helping out,” Parkinson said during a recent interview at the school’s track field where the team was getting ready for the first day of practice under his tutelage. “We are just carrying on the tradition. When Jose (Soto) left this season and told us he wasn’t going to come back, we have to keep this program up. I have to help out.”

Mike Parkinson still holds the SPHS record for the mile at 4:08. Moreover, his son, Andrew, is a rising star on the school track team in distance events and the high jump. Andrew Parkinson was recently move up to varsity by head coach CB Richards.

Mike Parkinson was a standout at So Pas High as well as at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Parkinson acknowledged his passion for running has not lessoned over the years. He has been involved in one way or another with the SPHS track program since 1977, when he was a sophomore and ran track at the High School.

“Oh yeah, I’m excited about coaching the cross country team” he said. “When I coached in the 90s, and when I started coaching, I looked forward to every single minute that I was working. I’m getting that same feeling again. I just love being out here.”

His first day as head coach of the cross country program was Monday.

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Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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