7th-grade coach, Marine veteran fighting cancer during A&M’s College World Series run

The Aggies’ run at the College World Series coincided with his first round of chemo, giving him something to be cheerful about during a difficult time.

KATY, Texas — Kyle Parrish is a second-generation Aggie who spent two tours in Iraq as a US Marine.

After his service, Parrish started a career in education. He used his benefits through the GI bill to attend the University of South Alabama in his hometown, Mobile. 

Eventually, he relocated to Katy, Texas, where he took a job as a junior high teacher and coach. That’s where he met the future Aggie baseball superstar – Jace LaViolette. 

“Jace was my first class of 7th-graders, my history class,” Parrish recalled. “Then, I coached him in basketball – we did not have a baseball team.”

LaViolette made an immediate connection with his coach which extended to the family.

“He just took a real liking to my kids,” Parrish said of LaViolette. “That’s kind of what attached me to him. He decided he was going to allow himself to be their mascot.”

“The fact that he always took time out for our kids,” said Parrish’s wife, AnnaLisa. “Our daughter – she’s 13 now – her favorite memory of basketball is having those boys sit down and color her princess coloring book with her, including Jace.”

While Jace battled SEC pitching, Kyle began a fight with cancer – a diagnosis that likely stemmed from his exposure to burn pits during his military service.

“One of the presumptive conditions of the burn pits is reproductive organ cancer. In February of 2023, I got diagnosed with testicular cancer,” Parrish explained.

“In May of this year, early May I had a scan and they found a mass in my lymph nodes. That cancer has come back.”

“I don’t speak doctor, I don’t know what that means but I know it’s by my heart,” he joked.

“They’ve got me scheduled for four rounds of chemo which is five days on, two weeks off. I just finished my first round.”

When Kyle announced his diagnosis, Jace made sure his coach knew he wasn’t alone.

“Probably within 20 minutes of that going out there, he sent me a really phenomenal message that made me feel special,” Kyle said. “Let us know that he cares about us and that means the world to us.”

“The person that y’all get to see is exactly who he’s been since we’ve known him,” said AnnaLisa. “He is friendly to everybody. He stops and talks to anybody who wants to talk to him.”

While chemo is taxing on the body, Aggie baseball has been good for the soul.

“Something to be excited about, something to take my mind off it,” Kyle said of watching Texas A&M in the College World Series. 

“I got to wear my A&M shirt. My dad, who I said was the big Aggie in the family – he passed away in 2022. That very first shirt I was wearing in my Instagram post was his favorite Aggie shirt.”

“It’s just something that we get to look forward to that’s fun,” said AnnaLisa. “Those hours that we get to watch the game – everything else is kind of pushed to the side because we’re fully invested.”

“Just to have the community around me – even though it’s on my phone – it’s been really, really nice,” sad Kyle.

LaViolette and the Aggies defeated the Tennessee Volunteers, 9-5, in Game 1 of the College World Series Finals on Saturday. Texas A&M is one win away from securing its first national championship in program history.

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