Sonny Parker And Chicago Farragut High School Featured in the Chicago Sun Times
January 9, 2008


A 1972 grad, he played in the NBA for six years. In 1990, he founded the Sonny Parker Youth Foundation to mentor underprivileged kids.

I grew up at 19th and Homan, in the Lawndale community, only four blocks from Farragut. That was the school we went to ... my father, my family, all my friends. A lot of my teammates attended the same grammar school and we played basketball together in the summer for four years.

But what I remember most about my days at Farragut was the relationships we had with our coaches and teachers. They taught us life skills, how to deal with things at home and away from home. They had an invested interest in us, to make us the best we could be.

My basketball coach, Wardell Vaughn, taught me how to deal with peer pressure. In those days, we had to deal with gangs and alcohol. He taught me not to be influenced by the wrong crowd. We always stayed after school at the social center. It kept us involved with something positive.

I also recall Mr. McKeiver, my history teacher, and Mr. Brown, my physical education teacher. They had attended black colleges and taught us black history. They also prepared us for college by informing us about which courses to take. Most important of all, they taught me to treat people as you want to be treated and never to forget where you came from. People said basketball was a way out of the city but I felt I had to lead people along the way, that I had to be a good person.

They taught me discipline and sportsmanship, to stay focused on my goals and to be realistic, to fall back on something if you don't make it.

Baseball was my first love. I had a scholarship offer from Arizona State. But I grew from 5-11 to 6-6 and decided to become a basketball player.


Location: 2345 S. Christiana
Behind the name: David Farragut, Civil War naval hero
Conference: Public League
Colors: Blue and gold
Nickname: Admirals
Enrollment: 2,434
State titles: none


Guido guides the ship

1. Coach Guido Marchetti built a strong and very competitive football program in the 1960s and 1970s with Mack Herron, Harvey Blanks, Dennis Jones, Jeff Mack and Otis Armstrong. Under Marchetti, the Admirals posted a 33-14-2 record in six years and reached the semifinals of the Public League playoffs four times. In 1968, the Admirals beat Lane Tech for the first time.

Close but no cigar
2. Coach Wardell Vaughn's 1971-72 basketball team, led by future NBA player Sonny Parker, Billy Lewis, Ray White, Tom Griffin and Lenard Rogers, was 24-2, unbeaten in the Red-West and ranked among the top teams in the Chicago area before losing to Marshall in the quarterfinals of the Public League playoff. The Admirals had beaten Marshall twice during the regular season.

No. 1 ranking
3. Coach William Nelson's 1994-95 basketball team, led by future NBA star Kevin Garnett, Ronnie Fields and Michael Wright, was 28-2 and ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 3 in the nation by USA Today before falling to Thornton 46-43 in the Class AA quarterfinals in Champaign. Garnett, a transfer from Mauldin, S.C., was the No. 1 player in the nation and an NBA lottery pick.

Another quarterfinalist
4. Nelson's 2003-04 team, led by Ollie Bailey, Chris Singletary and Emmanuel Little, was 29-4 but lost to eventual state champion Peoria Central 42-40 in the Class AA quarterfinals. The Admirals lost to Westinghouse for the Public League title but beat Westinghouse in the sectional and ousted Von Steuben in the supersectional to earn their first trip to Peoria.

City champions
5. Farragut has won seven Public League titles in soccer, three under coach Clemente Lima, one under coach Carlos Bedova and the last three seasons under coach Arturo Oliveres. Alel Herrera and Christian Guzman led the Admirals to three unbeaten conference seasons. Lima's 1991 squad (17-5-4), led by Jose Pugo, Orlando Branco and goalie Ruben Gallard, was his best team.


* Otis Armstrong: Former NFL player
* Harvey Blanks: All- American football player
* Tony Brown: Former NBA player
* Ronnie Fields: CBA player
* Kevin Garnett: NBA player
* Rickey Hendon: Illinois state senator
* Mack Herron: Former NFL player
* John Hooker: Senior VP Commonwealth Edison
* Jeff Mack: Former pro football player
* Kim Novak: Actress
* Sonny Parker: Former NBA player
* Pat Sajak: Host, Wheel of Fortune
* Beverly Shaffer: Recording artist
* Marcus Sloane: Cook County judge
* Joe Soto: Chicago radio personality
* Ernie Terrell: Heavyweight boxing champion