The football program at Dr. Henry E. Wise Jr. is building a dynasty after consecutive Maryland 4A State Championship titles and not losing a game since 2014. But for Coach DaLawn Parrish, the primary agenda is to lead young men by using football as a tool for growth academically as well. ‘It feels great to help young men get to the next level, that’s why I got into coaching high school football. Growing up, some of my friends didn’t have the opportunity to play in college because they weren’t pushed hard enough,’ Parrish said.
Athletes AJ Lytton, Demetri Morsell, and Malik Bellamy are top recruits at Wise and have received scholarships and interest respectively from Division-I programs. Lytton, a Florida State University commit, cites the inspiration of former Wise athletes to maintain, and pass on the trend of greatness to the future of the program. We’re used winning and learning at the same time,’ Lytton said. For Morsell and Bellamy, the focus was directed toward academic achievement. ‘My grades were bad when I started at Wise, but my teammates and Coach Parrish pushed me to become a better student,’ Bellamy said. Morsell added that ‘Coach Parrish inspired me to raise my performance in class to have an easier recruiting process. Having success academically helped me become the best version of myself, on and off the field.’
In Prince Georges County and surrounding areas, many private and magnet schools exist giving parents an option of where to send their children. Coach Parrish is maintaining the push for going to assigned schools with a “why pay twice” mindset. ‘Prince Georges County is an influential area in Maryland. There’s a mixture of public and private schools, so it’s common for siblings to go to different schools. I’ve been fortunate in my 11 years at Wise to have coached 16 sets of brothers; so that’s a great accomplishment for me,” Parrish said. With a number of choices for secondary education in Prince Georges County available, Parrish has earned the reputation and trust of the parents to allow them to coach their children for generations.
“The Wise Way” is not as complex as it sounds; do what you’re supposed to do as a student-athlete and you will be successful. According to the @WiseAthletics Twitter, the program has generated over $5 million in scholarships between eligible recipients. By breathing knowledge into these young athletes and turning them into scholarly men, the wise way is an example of the way to operate in high school athletics.