Robby Parris grew up with a natural talent for sports – and two older brothers. Whether in the backyard or on the field, he could keep up with bigger, faster guys. At St. Raphael’s parish school in Bay Village, he
became a standout player in football and on an AAU national championship basketball team. With older brothers attending Saint Ignatius, his high school decision was “set in stone.”
At his first football practice, Robby remembers being placed on defense and thinking, “There’s no chance. I don’t want to do this.” Things got much more fun when Coach Chuck Kyle ’69 moved him to the receiver position. He became one of the most accomplished receivers at Saint Ignatius, with all-time records that still stand, including 240 receiving yards in a game, 892 in a season, and the most touchdown receptions in a game (four in three games during 2004 and 2005).
In an unusual feat, Robby excelled on football, track and basketball teams all four years, earning 10 varsity letters. In track and field, he made varsity as a freshman in the high jump, 110m hurdles and long jump, where he jumped 21’6”. In basketball, he started varsity as a sophomore and still holds the single-game assist record at 15 in a game. In his senior year, he was named John J. Wirtz Athlete of the Year, given to a senior athlete making a significant contribution in more than one sport while demonstrating academic ability, coachability, leadership, and exemplary behavior and citizenship.
Awarded a full scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, Robby double-majored in finance and sociology while playing wide receiver on the renowned ND football team. “The best part was playing in front of sometimes 110,000 people. Although playing for Notre Dame was an honor, Saint Ignatius still holds a special place in my heart and the school I am most proud to represent as a student-athlete.”
After college, Robby was picked up by the Cleveland Browns as a free agent, then signed to play with the Canadian Football League in Montreal. Quickly realizing his passion for football was over, he headed home to Cleveland. He worked in finance, wrote a promising movie script with his younger brother, Joey ’09 and boldly moved to Hollywood. When the screenplay didn’t pan out, Robby bought his own video equipment and taught himself to shoot and edit. He started his own company called Rodeo CC, a production company and digital branding agency.
With the business a success, Robby and his wife moved their young family to Cleveland. “Raising a child in Hollywood is very difficult. For my son, it wouldn’t be the childhood I had, running around and playing sports. I’d love for him to be at Ignatius, to share that bond with him, teach him how to handle the successes and failures, and be an example for him, like my coaches and teachers were for me.”
Robby Parris lives in Westlake with his wife, Jennie and their son.
Robby will be inducted into the Saint Ignatius Athletic Hall of Fame on August 12 at Wildcats Roar. Tickets for the event are still available.