LaGrange College head coach named parade grand marshal

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2022

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By Shiann Sivell

Earl Chambers, the head football coach for LaGrange College, said he has always tried to incorporate the teachings of civil rights advocate Martin Luther King Jr. in his life as an educator.

On Saturday, Chambers will lead the annual MLK Parade through the streets of downtown LaGrange, a humbling honor, he said.

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“I was totally thrown off,” he said when asked how he reacted to the call that he had been selected as the parade’s grand marshal. “I’ve never been a part of anything like this. I know what this means for this community, and my motto has always been to service my players. I just want to be a servant to this community as well.”

Chambers was chosen by a grand marshal committee through the college, explained Nicole Joseph, LaGrange College’s head cheerleading coach. The parade will be sponsored by Theta Xi Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

“To see him in action, I had that pleasure,” Joseph said. “To be part of a coaching room, you have some people who are just coaches. He has 30 to 40 players lined up from high schools, and he’s there. He’s talking to parents, shaking hands, talking with each player. It takes a lot to be able to do that. He’s one of the humblest coaches I’ve ever met.”

This year’s MLK Parade will be the 35th in LaGrange overall, explained Parade Coordinator Yvonne Pittman.

The parade’s theme this year is “We’re all in this Together.”

“My true reason for this parade is to keep the dream alive and to help younger children know who Dr. Martin Luther King is,” Pittman said. “I want the memory and the legacy of Dr. King to continue on for our younger generation.”

Participation in the parade has always been strong, Pittman noted, and this year’s will feature at least two bands and dozens of other applicants. However, there will not be a keynote speaker this year.

With the parade just days away, Pittman has been keeping close communication with health department entities to monitor the rising number of COVID cases.

The MLK Parade will start at the Sweetland Amphitheatre at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Anyone who wants to participate in the parade will need to contact Pittman at (706) 616-2484 by Friday, Jan. 7. Walking groups are $25 each, vehicles are $35 and floats are $50. Participants will need to sign COVID-19 waivers prior to the parade.