CHAMPAIGN, IL - University of Illinois head coach John Groce announced Thursday the hiring of Paris Parham as assistant coach. A Chicago native, Parham comes to Illinois after five years as an assistant at Illinois State and is a 17-year veteran of the coaching profession.
"I am excited to welcome Paris Parham to our staff," Groce said. "I was impressed with what he helped Illinois State accomplish during his time there and feel he will hit the ground running and help us immediately in the pursuit of our goals. He has worked hard on the recruiting trail in the city of Chicago, as well as throughout the state of Illinois and the Midwest. Paris has many qualities that make him a successful coach, but what impressed me the most is the relationships he builds with the players. He is a great role model for young men and will be an outstanding ambassador for our program."
Illinois State won 104 games during Parham's tenure on former head coach Tim Jankovich's staff. The Redbirds recorded four 20-plus win seasons in five years, advancing to the NIT four times and the Missouri Valley Tournament championship game three times.
Parham spent the previous three years in Chicago, serving one season as head coach at Morgan Park (2007) and two seasons as head coach at Phillips Academy (2005-06). He was the Chicago Public League's Red-Central Coach of the Year in 2005 after leading Phillips to an undefeated conference record. During this time, Parham also coached with the AAU program Full Package and assisted at the Chicago Bulls Training Academy.
Prior to his coaching stops at the high school level, Parham served for three seasons as an assistant coach at Maryland-Eastern Shore (2002-04). He entered the coaching ranks at his alma mater, Minnesota State (formerly Mankato State), serving as a graduate assistant (1996) before spending five seasons as an assistant coach (1997-2001).
Parham's collegiate playing career included two years each at Lincoln College (1992-93) and Minnesota State (1994-95). At Lincoln, Parham was a two-year team captain and set the school's single-season assist record.
Parham completed his career at Minnesota State with 556 points in 54 games (10.3 ppg). He led the team in assists in consecutive years, with his 5.2 average ranking eighth on the Mavericks' all-time single season assists list. He also still holds the school record for career steals average at 1.9 spg. Parham earned All-North Central Conference (NCC) honorable mention honors as a senior in 1995 and also was named the league's co-most improved player.
Parham earned two degrees from Minnesota State, a bachelor's in business administration in 1995 and a master's in education administration in 2000. He and his wife, Keisha, have two sons, Paris Jr. and Kai.