Former Rattler chosen for NMAA Hall of Fame

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Former Tucumcari Rattler T.J. Parks will be inducted into the New Mexico Activities Association’s Hall of Fame.

“The NMAA is very near and dear to my heart,” said Parks. “To have been part of the organization and to be inducted into their hall of fame is a true honor that I have been blessed with.”

Parks will be inducted at noon on Thursday at a ceremony held at the Albuquerque Wyndham Airport Hotel, said Robert Zayas, director of communications for the NMAA. Parks will also be honored during the Class 4A Girls State Championship Basketball game on Friday.

“T.J. was nominated by former NMAA director Dan Salzwedel,” said Zayas, “Inductees are chosen by their overall commitment to and participation in the association. T.J.’s willingness to help the NMAA and all students of New Mexico while working as a superintendent for Tatum (Public School in southeast New Mexico) shows what kind of a guy he is.”

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dan,” said Parks. “We didn’t always get along and we butted heads sometimes and had some interesting conversations. To be nominated by him means a lot to me.”

He has served on several NMAA committees including the executive and review committees.

Parks has been working at the Tatum school system for the past 21 years and has been the school’s superintendent for 10 years.

Parks graduated from Tucumcari High School in 1976. He played on the Rattlers’ baseball team and was a second guard on the basketball team.

He went on to play basketball for the New Mexico Military Institute at Roswell for his freshman and sophomore years and played at the Citadel in South Carolina during his junior and senior years. He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s in education from Eastern New Mexico University at Portales.

“We are very proud of what T.J. has accomplished,” said Parks’ aunt, Mary Mayfield, mayor of Tucumcari. “He always put everything he had into what he was doing. He played basketball with all his heart and was never a showboat. It was always about the team. He truly believes in the impact that sports can have on the lives of today’s youth.”