Meet the President of the Beach Ball: Stan Parker

For 32 years, Beach Ball Classic President Stan Parker has walked the sidelines during the week after Christmas smiling and shaking hands with coaches, players, recruiters and basketball fans attending the event often referred to as America’s finest high school holiday basketball tournament.

Through the years, he’s swept the floors, sold tickets, fed the masses, and performed any task he’s been asked to do. Now, he serves as the president and Mr. Personality.

Dan D’Antoni founded the tournament in 1981 and served as the original president until accepting a job in the NBA. “When Danny went to the NBA with his brother Mike, he wanted someone to step in and facilitate, and make sure the Beach Ball Classic continued on with the same tradition” said Parker. The year was 2005 and Parker was asked to take on the responsibilities.

“I make sure everyone is in the right position to do their jobs. Everybody has certain things that they do and are responsible for. We have a great group of volunteers that have the same responsibilities each year. Everybody does what they have to do, and it’s a well oiled machine, but you wouldn’t know it three days prior to the start,” said Parker.

He continued, “The major process is raising funds to put this event on. By the time we have hotel accommodations, and broadcasting the event live on the internet, and putting up teams, and feeding teams, it takes a considerable amount of money to do it all.”

There is also an incredible amount of small details that must be attended to each year. Tom Tracy has served the Classic since day one, “Stan is in charge of the accounting portion of it and the logistics basically; the bleachers, the vendors and all the small things. Plus, he’s in charge of the hospitality portion, he’s vital to this tournament. “

In addition to looking after the teams, and tournament fans, Parker also has to insure that sponsors receive the exposure that they’re entitled to, including the City of Myrtle Beach.  “Our main focus has been to promote the city of Myrtle Beach and the Beach Ball Classic via the web; to get the name out and promote basketball not just in the area but in the United States,” said Parker.

“Stan Parker and the Beach Ball Classic were in front of the curve bringing technology to the people. And through those efforts, during the first day of this year’s Classic, over a 1000 people watched a game via their mobile device,” said Donald Smith, owner of Lucky Dog Television productions.

Parker talks about the developments, “As far as I know, we were the first high school tournament streamed live like we do. From the first year that we did it with HTC, to now adding Lucky Dog Television productions, it’s top of the line. I’ve seen college games that aren’t broadcast as well as we are.”

That exposure has provided the City of Myrtle Beach with a long history of marketing benefits. City Councilman Wayne Gray says, “This event brings teams and their parents and their supporters to our area during a time of the year that’s our slowest time. But more importantly, for folks that have been coming here for 32 years, they learn about Myrtle Beach for the first time and it then becomes their vacation destination. So, from an economic standpoint, that’s the benefit from the tournament, not only during the week that it’s played but for years to come. And people like Stan Parker, who serves as the President, and played for Socastee High School, and a local entrepreneur, he understands how important it is to bring these folks to Myrtle Beach.”

In addition to serving up basketball to over 20,000 people, the Beach Ball Classic does so much more. “We do a thousand dollar scholarship for every high school in Horry County from our Beach Ball raffle and our sponsors. We do a golf tournament every year, and what people might not realize that we are involved with is the Carolinas Challenge, which is the North Carolina and South Carolina All Stars game that was really struggling. We brought it to Myrtle Beach and we bring in the top high school players from both states and pack Socastee High School,” says Parker, whose real life job is the owner of Flagship Construction.

As 5pm arrives at the Beach Ball Classic, the hospitality room opens and you’ll find Parker doing what he loves; smiling, shaking hands and making sure everyone has a good time. It’s details like this that make the tournament successful.  “Every night we feed between 1500 and 2500 people back in the hospitality room and my job is to be back there shaking hands and making sure everything runs smooth. And we also do hospitality at night for the coaches and media, but if they need me to go up front and sell tickets, I’ll do that too.”

The life of the President of the Beach Ball Classic; shake hands, smile, and make sure this 32 year old well oiled machine runs as expected, 20,000 people are counting on it.

Photo Credit: Digital Magic Photography

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