Ed Parker, a teacher and coach at Mills High for 30 years and an influential figure in the development of American women's track and field, died Thursday at the age of 78 in Gold River.

Female athletes coached by Parker were on every United States Olympic Team from 1960-1988.

Parker, a 1947 graduate of Burlingame High and 1951 graduate of San Francisco State, started coaching track and field with the San Mateo County Girls Athletic Association in 1959. He discovered Pat Daniels, a Capuchino High junior in 1960, and introduced her to track. Six months later, Daniels made the U.S. Olympic Team in the 800 meters. It was the first of three Olympics that Daniels, now Pat Connolly after her marriage to 1956 hammer throw gold medalist Harold Connolly, would take part in. She also won a national championship as a coach at UCLA.

"You've heard the expression, 'Get a life,' she said. "Mr. Parker gave me a life. I never met anyone with his integrity. A lot of coaches are full of phony hype. He would always tell you the truth, never tell you you could do something unless you could really do it."

While at Mills, Parker started the Millbrae Lions Track Club. That was where he coached future Olympians Marilyn King, Lucia Vaamonde, Kathy Sulenski, Maren Seidler and Cis Shaeffer.

The last Olympian Parker coached was Leslie Maxie, who set a junior world record in the 400 hurdles in 1984 and competed for the U.S. in the 1988 Olympic Games.

"He was a great coach and an infinitely patient man," said Maxie, who now works in public relations for NASCAR. "More than anything he was a good person. He cared about people."

Parker is survived by his wife, Barbara, daughter Sharon Parker Garcia, son Aaron Parker, and four grandchildren.

Link to article: http://www.insidebayarea.com/olympics/ci_13671720