In between? Well, no. No wins as a head coach. But on Saturday, Parrish, the head coach at Ball State put an end, briefly at least, to 23 years and six days of head coaching pain.
Ball State 29, Eastern Michigan 27.
That's the last two years of Reagan, two Bushes, one Clinton and closing in on a year of Obama without leading a team to victory.
It ended Ball State's eight-game losing streak under Parrish. It ended Parrish's personal 35-game winless streak.
It's over. Stan Parrish's nearly quarter-of-a-century long nightmare.
Imagine how great it must feel.
"No question, no question," he said. "A tremendous burden has been lifted off me and the team.''
This could have been the ugliest major college football game ever played. The punter dropped the ball. A snap went over the quarterback's head. A kick-returner dropped the ball out of bounds. The quarterback, about to be sacked, inexplicably fumbled.
They even had a promotion where fans would try to catch a ball from an one of those automatic punt machines. But someone accidentally unplugged the machine. When they started it up again, they tried to fire a ball before the machine was warmed up.
It went 10 yards.
But no matter how ugly this game was, in front of 1,535 fans, it was probably the most beautiful thing Parrish has seen.
You know guys like Parrish, a great football mind, great assistant. But he's not a head coach. If that's wrong, he's going to have to prove it.
Years ago, he was hot in the industry. He took the Kansas State job, where good coaching careers were known to go to die.
He was known as Air Parrish back then. On Saturday, his team passed for 1 yard.
"In almost 40 years of coaching,'' he said, "that's a record low for me."
It took 40 years to realize that you have to run the football to win?
Well, whatever. Parrish thought: Stan Parrish is a winner.
I never would have dreamt I'd say those words in that order again. Back in 1988, I was just out of college, covering Parrish at K-State.
He went 0-11 that year, after going 0-10-1 the year before. The year before that, he had lost his last five games after beating Kansas.
"I don't remember," Parrish said this week. "I really don't. I have done a wonderful job of taking that situation and putting it in my rear-view mirror. Probably overdone it, because I don't remember some of the kids that call me from time to time.''
I would applaud him for that mental strength, but it is not remotely possible.
Two weeks ago, Ball State lost to Toledo, taking a one-point lead in the final minute only to have Toledo score on a long pass.
So Stan, that honestly didn't remind you of, say, Tulane in 1988 at the Superdome?
"I'll never forget that as long as I live," he said within one-quarter of a second of the question leaving my mouth. K-State's coaches were so happy that day that when the team scored a touchdown with roughly a minute left, they high-fived in their booth in the press box, then ran to the elevator to get on the field to celebrate with the players.
"Please," Parrish said.
Don't beg, Stan. Unfortunately, with coaches in the elevator, K-State had 12 men on the field.
"Twelve men on the field to help them along," he said.
And were there two pass interference penalties, too.
Against Louisiana Tech that year, K-State took a big lead early. But then, Louisiana Tech took a lead, and K-State had one last chance.
Going on memory here, but K-State drove within scoring position for a chance to win. Just over a minute left, and K-State had timeouts left, but instead, took long, full huddles.
"(Deleted) Stan, call timeout," people yelled in the stands.
"(Deleted) Stan. Timeout. Timeout."
K-State threw a desperation pass and lost.
Back then, Big Eight (now Big 12) champs went to the Orange Bowl, and fans threw oranges on the field to celebrate when their team clinched a title. One day with a patsy on the schedule, K-State fans brought oranges as a joke. When K-State started losing, the fans pelted their own players and coaches on the sidelines. Administrators fled.
Don't ask about the Oklahoma game. I also recall going to practices every week and Parrish, the nice guy he was, always walked over and talked for 20 minutes or so.
"Uh, Stan, don't you need to coach the team?" I asked one day.
To say his name was mud in the coaching profession after K-State is to insult mud.
But he became Michigan's quarterbacks coach, and the Wolverines won the national championship. He then was the offensive coordinator there.
Then he was the quarterbacks coach at Tampa Bay when the Bucs won the Super Bowl.
The guy has a college national title ring and a Super Bowl ring.
And he was safely retired, when Ball State called. Last year, as offensive coordinator, he was one of five finalists for national assistant coach of the year. Ball State went 12-0 in the regular season, then lost the MAC title game.
What a great end to Parrish's story that could have been. But then coach Brady Hoke took the job at San Diego State, Parrish was promoted to head coach, and Ball State lost its bowl game. Then this year, with several new players on offense, but much of the defense back, the team started 0-7.
On Saturday, MiQuale Lewis ran for 301 yards. Cory Sykes had 203. Air Parrish's quarterback, Tanner Justice, in for injured starter Kelly Page, completed two passes for 1 yard.
And Parrish was reminded about a 23-year gap between victories.
"Different time, different setting, different place, doing a different thing," he said. "The kids in our program don't associate me with losing; they associate me with winning. It's never been about me. It's about kids on this team and how happy they are."
The happiest 1-7 team in America. Parrish got a little choked up.
They did it, by the way, by running the wildcat offense. Parrish's name was ruined as coach of the K-State ... Wildcats. It's all one nice circle.
And now, Stan Parrish is a winner.
"Now," he said, "I want to win two in a row."
Let's not get carried away.
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