Dr. Joseph Parisi, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., has distinguished himself in every aspect of his career—as a coach, an educator, and as leader of a 160 million dollar educational enterprise at the forefront of an unprecedented period of enrollment growth at the 185-year-old institution.
Parisi began serving in management roles at an early age; at age 20, he was appointed club manager and sales manager at Bodyshapers, Inc., in Manchester, Mo., which was followed by supervisory positions at the YMCA in Kansas City, Mo., and at Butterfield Youth Services.
After serving as an admissions coordinator, assistant professor, and wrestling coach at Missouri Valley College and coaching back to back National Championship teams, he joined the staff at Lindenwood University in 1998 as head wrestling coach and executive director of the American Humanics/Human Services program. In the latter role, he won national awards of excellence in community service, fundraising, and student recruitment. After a series of other roles, he was named Dean of Day Admissions in 2006, all while maintaining his position as head wrestling coach.
Himself an All-American wrestler, in 15 years he coached 120 All-Americans, 28 national champions, and 21 academic All-Americans. Twelve of his teams won the regional championship and then finished in the top four in the country; in six of those years, Parisi won NAIA coach of the year honors. Four of his teams were runner up to the national champions in 1995, 1998, 2003, and 2006, and his teams won the national championship seven times: 1996, 1997, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Parisi’s 1996 and 1997 teams were inducted into the Missouri Valley College Hall of Fame, and his 2002 team was inducted into the Lindenwood University Athletic Hall of Fame. He won the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Achievement Award five times, and he was presented a resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives naming him a “legendary coach.” Other honors include a “Beyond the Best” award from Streetscape Magazine, listings in Cambridge’s Who’s Who of Executives and Professionals and Strathmore’s Who’s Who of Executives and Professionals, and the 2012 Alvin M. Francis Award in Educational Leadership.
Parisi has judged the Miss Missouri USA Pageant, as well as the Miss Kansas, Miss Oklahoma, Miss Nebraska, and Miss Arkansas pageants. He has also made more than a dozen presentations since 2009 for local and national groups on topics ranging from motivation, fitness and nutrition to higher education admissions and leadership.