By Jack Vinton
Local Sports Journal

There are some moments in life that are unforgettable, events that are so impactful they will be etched in one’s memory forever.

Playing in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament is one of those moments, and Denny Parks remembers those few weeks of his experience very clearly.

Parks, a member of the 1975 Central Michigan team that made the tournament, recalls every detail.

“The first round we beat Georgetown, who was coached by (Hall of Famer) John Thompson, “ Parks said. “Then we got beat by Kentucky in the Round of 16, who would end up losing to UCLA in the title game that would be Coach Wooden’s final game.”

Although March Madness has exploded into a multi-billion dollar extravaganza, don’t tell Parks the tournament is bigger now.

“Everyone knows that the 1979 game with Bird vs. Magic is the most watched NCAA basketball game of all-time,” says Parks. “But few people know that the 1976 title game is still the second-most watched. “

He is understandably proud of his team’s accomplishments, and he uses those memories to teach young children the sport of basketball. Through his association with the American Youth Basketball Tour.

Parks has been able to make a difference in thousands of kids’ lives. One of those kids happened to be the son of Muhammad Ali and Parks even got to meet the iconic Ali on more than one occasion – another unforgettable moment brought upon because of his involvement with youth sports.

For more information about the AYBT and future events, visit

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