Jeff Schibi, a former Parsons High School standout athlete who’s served as the offensive coordinator for the last two seasons, has been hired as the Vikings’ new head football coach.
At 31 years old, Schibi will be one of the youngest coaches in the area while being tasked with taking over a program that will have its fifth head coach since 2013.
“Parsons has lacked consistency since the Charlie Nally and Tony Canacari days as far as head coaching goes,” Schibi said. “I’m going to be here for the rest of my career. That was one of the big factors in the board’s decision. They wanted to provide some consistency within the program.”
Schibi pointed to his commitment to sticking with the Vikings longterm as a reason he feels the school made him the choice to replace Kurt Friess. The last three head coaches for Parsons have lasted two seasons apiece.
“I think the Parsons administration doesn’t want to continue to do this every two years,” Schibi said. “I’d love to be here for 10 to 15 years so I can build a program with a foundation laid by Kurt Friess. Kurt did a great job providing old-school toughness back into Parsons. I owe some much to him. He took a chance on me and I’m forever grateful.”
Parsons Athletic Director Rob Barcus also said that Schibi’s familiarity with the program was a driving factor in the hiring decision.
“It’s well known that we’ve had a number of coaches here in the last 10 years,” Barcus said. “We felt this was the easiest transition. Instead of a new coaching bringing in an entire new system, Schibi knows our kids and works with our kids. There won’t be a lot of changes for the kids.”
Why is Schibi’s commitment different from his predecessors?
“It’s different because for one, I’m from here,” Schibi said. “This is my hometown. I played for the Vikings. Kurt obviously is the principal of an elementary school here. He wanted to get the program on the right track and hand it off to somebody that would be here a long time. My roots are here and I have no reason to leave.
“The last few coaches resigned and had opportunities elsewhere. If a bigger program comes calling my name…I’ll take the call and tell them I’m happy with where I’m at. My wife, Breah, works for a very good company here in town in Bowen Pharmacy. She loves Parsons. At the end of the day, a happy wife makes for a happy life.”
Friess announced his resignation from Parsons on May 7, citing obligations to his principal job at Guthridge Elementary School related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the driving factor.
Parsons’ instability at the coaching position has translated to its record on the field. Since 2011, the Vikings have had two winning seasons and posted a 22-62 record.
The Vikings, however, did have a ticker-tape season in 2018 when Parsons went 8-3 and won two playoff games, the first playoff wins for the school in 42 years.
Schibi was the offensive coordinator on that staff led by Friess.
In 2019, with 15 seniors from that 8-3 team graduated compounded by the loss of quarterback DaQuan Johnson to an offseason injury, the Vikings suffered a 2-7 campaign and missed the postseason.
Schibi expects at least 15 seniors to be on the Parsons roster this fall.
“Typically, a first-year coach would try to establish a foundation of being competitive,” Schibi said. “I have slightly different expectations. This senior class reminds me of two years ago. We have talented guys that work hard and want to win. The looks on their faces last year was agony, and I liked seeing that. They don’t like to lose. That left a sour taste in a lot of mouths.
“You win high school football games with seniors. We saw that last year where we went up against a lot of senior-laden teams with a target on our back. I’m hoping to return the favor on them this year. We may not go 8-0 and win our district, but I have high expectations.”
In addition to taking over head coaching duties for the football team, Schibi has switched teaching jobs from marketing to strength and conditioning.
“The weight room hasn’t been a consistent factor in the football program,” Schibi said. “That will not be a problem under me. This is my office now. If a kid isn’t putting in the effort, I’ll show them the door and tell them to come back when they’re ready.”
As the state continues to reintroduce athletics from the coronavirus pandemic, guidelines set forth by KSHSAA will go into place on Monday when schools can start holding summer workouts.
“On Monday morning, I want this weight room to be lit up with lots of passion and energy,” Schibi said. “We can spend a lot more time with our athletes this summer. There’s not as many restrictions. But we’re still going to take many precautions. We’re going to take attendance and have kids fill out questionnaires every single day. We’ll sanitize equipment. That’ll take some time to adjust.”
Schibi also has his assistant coaching staff mostly in place. Rob Barcus, the school’s athletic director, will serve as an assistant offensive coordinator.
Jaran Dixon, who was on staff the last two years, is being promoted to defensive coordinator.
“I’m excited about that,” Schibi said. “Jaran is a young guy that is very passionate about what he does. When he has a defined role, he’ll put everything he has to make sure he’s successful.”
Raheem Dumas will resume his role as defensive backs coach while assisting in other areas. Kaito Barr-Miller, who works at the local Parsons Recreation Commission, was the lone outside hire made by Schibi.
Anthony Houk, the school’s boys basketball coach, will also join the staff to coach the offensive line.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Anthony on the staff,” Schibi said. “He’ll provide that veteran leadership. He’s so well defined when it comes to discipline. He runs a tight ship with his basketball team. So I know he’ll have a plan for everybody.”
Schibi’s staff isn’t finalized yet but he’s confident those coaches will serve in the fall.
Parsons is preparing for a fall season that will feature a slightly new Class 3A district with Frontenac being replaced by Cherryvale. Baxter Springs, Caney Valley, Columbus and Galena will return to the district.
“Every game I coach, I’ll step on the field with confidence and expect to win,” Schibi said. “That rubs off on the players. I want to see the players confidence.”