Ralph Moore, Denver Post Sports Writer, circa 1982
Charles Lyman “Poss” Parsons, sports editor of The Denver Post for 19 years, was the first member of the media to be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
He was inducted posthumously in 1982.
Parsons, one of the Rocky Mountain area’s best-known sports figures of his time, died August 26, 1972 at the age of 50. He served The Post’s sports department from 1922-1941.
During his tenure at The Post, Parson’s directed The Denver Post semipro baseball tournament, “The Little World Series of the West” and forerunner of the then fledgling National Baseball Congress.
Besides coaching football at both Colorado Mines and Colorado College, Parsons served as a starter for all major track events, and, as an administrator for the Rocky Mountain Amateur Athletic Union, was instrumental in bringing the National AAU Track and Field meet to the University of Denver in 1929 and the National AAU Basketball tournaments here from 1935 through 1941.
He also assisted in acquiring the U.S. Open golf championship at the Cherry Hills Country Club in 1938, the first time the event was played west of Chicago.
Born on May 3, 1892 in Mason City, Iowa, he attended Iowa City High School where he attracted statewide notice in football, basketball and track.
He subsequently became the first track athlete in the history of the University of Iowa to win nine sports letters.
He was twice chosen All-Big Ten Conference as a guard in basketball and a tailback in football. He also established the Big Ten record in the 440-yard dash, a mark that held up for considerable time.
After his graduation (with a degree in engineering), Parsons coached football at Trinity College in Sioux City until 1916 when he left to enter the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant and served throughout World War I in the Engineer Corps.
It was after his discharge from the Army that he came west to coach at Colorado Mines. In 1920, he left to take a similar job at Colorado College.
Frederick G. Bonfils, publisher and co-founder of The Denver Post was impressed with Parsons’ overall capabilities and on October 9, 1922, managing editor William C. Shepherd hired Parsons as football analyst.
Intensely interested in aviation, Parsons became the friend of several figures in the industry. It was through these associations that Parsons inaugurated a unique airplane tour of the football camps in the 12-school Rocky Mountain Conference. Today, these same trips are known as “skywriters” tours.
The Rocky Mountain area then was not nationally known and Parsons went to great lengths to gain recognition for athletes from this area. Two of his special projects were achieving All-American football status for Earl “Dutch” Clark of Colorado College, and Byron “Whizzer” White of the University of Colorado.
Parsons was probably proudest of the opportunity to ride as Lou Moore’s mechanic in the Indianapolis 500 in the days when they drove two-seaters. Moore was forced out of the race after 110 miles, but Parsons wrote a dramatic story of what it was like to participate in the famed Indy race.
Parsons was a firm believer in the theory that good athletes made good citizens and was ever willing to lend a helping hand to further the interest of sports in this area.
Leonard Cahn, retired Rocky Mountain News sports writer, worked 14 years under Parsons at The Post prior to his 34 years at the News.
“As an authority on all sports, I don’t think we ever had anybody who had the knowledge of Poss – not as a participant, but as a coach, then a writer, then as an administrator. If any one man has the credentials to become the first news media man to be inducted by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, it’s Poss Parsons.
The first member of the media to be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.