Boise State

BSU associate athletic director dies from cancer

Lisa Parker
Lisa Parker Statesman file photo

Lisa Parker's open-door policy, combined with her compassionate ear and excellent advice, conspired to make the Boise State senior associate athletic director and senior women's administrator a frequent weekend worker.

"She had an open-door policy and everyone took big-time advantage of that. If you had a question or had a problem, you could go to her and she would help you out," Boise State women's soccer coach Steve Lucas said. "It made her have to work a lot on the weekends, but she loved being there for everyone."

Parker, 44, died Friday at her Boise home following a 20-month battle with lung cancer. A public memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday at Taco Bell Arena.

"Everybody loved her. She was the ultimate professional and just the classiest person you'd ever meet," athletic director Gene Bleymaier said. "She touched everybody that she worked with."

Parker was hired at Boise State in 2003 and oversaw all areas of student welfare. Parker, a former coach and athletic director at Colorado Christian, made an impact during her time with the Broncos. She helped hire women's basketball coach Gordy Presnell and helped usher the program through a coaching change. Presnell dedicated the team's 2008 postseason to Parker.

Parker, whose husband Corky is a big supporter of Bronco sports, was private about her illness. But in the spring, the Broncos went public with their support for her.

The basketball teams wore "LP" patches during postseason tournaments to show their support for Parker, whose condition worsened at that time. When Presnell told his team about her failing health, many players burst into tears, unable to control their emotions. They struggled to talk about "Miss Lisa," as they called her.

"She is just like my savior. Whenever I have a problem or need something, she is always the person I go to. She is our biggest fan. She is so supportive. She's kind of like my mom away from home," guard Tasha Harris said during the Broncos' run to the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

When they won the WAC Tournament that season, they saved the last piece of the net for Parker.

Though her health had worsened, Parker attended the athletic department's spring barbeque last month.

"She was tremendously smart, unbelievably competent," Bleymaier said. "She has the perfect way about her - empathetic to everybody's causes, yet she could solve problems. She had it all."

Including a candy jar.

Lucas said he would often stop by Parker's office to satisfy his sugar jones and not leave for 30 minutes. By then, he would feel better about everything.

"She made me a better coach without offering me any coaching advice, just being able to talk to her. She just had this calming presence," Lucas said.

"As rough as everything seemed and life is falling apart and the team is struggling, after talking for 10 minutes with her, you're right and ready to take the world on again."

The athletic department and the Bronco Athletic Association have created the Lisa G. Parker Scholarship Endowment. Contributions can be made by calling (208) 426-3556.