Should a Tomato Bowl Hall of Fame ever be established it would certainly include former Fightin' Indian gridiron greats such as Pete Lammons, Jerry Aldridge, Josh McCown, Luke McCown and former Tribe head coaching masters like Dick Sheffield and Danny Long.
There's another name that would probably be there right along side the aforementioned men, that of Dwight Parsley, Jacksonville's public address announcer at Tomato Bowl for the past 44 years.
Yes sir, for the last 44-consecutive years — 220 games — Parsley, who never missed a contest, has often had to out do over 1,200 passing freight trains as they rumbled through the night on the tracks sitting just a long pass away from the north end zone of the Tomato Bowl.
No one would have ever guessed that Nov. 8, 2013, a night that saw the Indians close the year out with a 48-30 loss to Corsicana, would be the last time fans would hear the eloquent, ethereal and resonating voice of Parsley fill the air in the nearly 75-year old stadium that sits in the heart of downtown Jacksonville.
In fact, not even Parsley himself knew that that game would be his swan song.
“Forty-four years is a long time,” Parsley said. “It was important for me to not miss a game and I wanted to continue on as long as the (Jacksonville) administration thought I was an important part of the game.
“There are several reasons that I felt that this is the right time (to retire). There is a health issue in my family that requires a lot of my time and there is a lot of preparation time needed to be able to announce a game; it's more than just showing up on Friday night.”
Parsley also said that a recent expansion of the family business, Texas East Gymnastics in Tyler, requires more of his time and that the fall is the “perfect time to travel” and that he would like to have the opportunity to get away with his wife Kathy from time to time, something that has been nearly impossible for the couple to do properly for the past 44 falls.