Denisha Parks ’15 plans to use her sports management degree from Elms become an athletic director at a college or university someday.

Basketball Star Enjoys Success on Court, in Classroom

Denisha Parks '15 plans to use her sports management degree from Elms to become an athletic director at a college or university.

Basketball Star Enjoys Success on Court, in Classroom

Denisha Parks ’15 celebrated a few big milestones at Elms College. In her sophomore year, the basketball star scored her 1,000th career point, and in January 2015 she doubled that, surpassing 2,000 points.

"It was very emotional to finally reach the 2,000-point milestone," Parks said. "I literally started to tear up when they made the announcement, because I never thought I'd see myself at this point in my life and basketball career. I never thought this day would come, but it proves that hard work really does pay off."

On May 16, she was all smiles as her hard work paid off in another kind of milestone -- she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in sports management.

She celebrated all three events in the same laid-back way: hanging out with her family and friends.

The Fall River, Mass., native is now interviewing for jobs in the Boston area and waiting to hear back from grad schools. She plans to become an athletic director at a college or university someday. That’s not surprising, given her athletic talents. The sports management program at Elms gave Parks a complete picture of what it means to lead and inspire athletes.

“I always used to say that I wanted to be a coach, but I never knew what it took to be an actual coach,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh, I know basketball, so it’ll be easy to teach it.’ But taking the Coaching Methods course this year really showed me when I have to go into more detail, or be a little more confident as a coach, or be assertive or firm with my players.”

Other courses in the major such as accounting, marketing, economics and legal studies classes rounded out her skills, she added.

When Parks was originally looking at colleges, as a high school basketball standout, she hadn’t heard of Elms. “Six years ago, when I was a junior in high school, I had no idea I’d come to Elms and have the impact that I did,” she said.

But she knew she wanted a small school with big heart. “I always was told, when I was playing basketball in high school, to look into the schools where you know you can make a difference on the team,” Parks recalled. She stopped in at Elms for a quick visit on the way to another school and found that it was the perfect place for her.

“I ended up really liking it,” she said. “I met the basketball team when I came for a day visit, and I really liked the coach and the environment. I was pretty much sold from my first visit.”

On the academic side, it was Elms’ close-knit classroom environment that spoke to her. “I felt like I had the opportunity to excel in the classroom, and that was one of my big goals too. I wanted to have that undivided attention,” she said. “I came from a huge high school. We had massive amount of students -- my graduation class was over 500 students. So I was looking forward to being in a classroom where the professors would know my name.”

“I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else,” Parks added. “I really enjoyed my time at Elms. Would I change anything? No, because I feel like Elms -- whether it was on the court, off the court, in the classroom -- taught me a lot that I’ll take on with me.”

VIDEO: Parks scoring her 2,000th point