Parson coached KU debate for twenty-four years, beginning in 1964. In that period, KU teams won the national tournament on three occassions (1970, 1976, and 1983) and placed in the Final Four of Debate on five other occasions. He was named national coach of the year in 1971, 1980, and 1981 and also received the award as Coach of the Decade for the 1970s. In addition to his many successes as a coach, Parson has also served as the Director of the National Debate Tournament for the last thirteen years. He is the longest serving director in the tournament's history.
Parson has been widely honored as a coach, teacher, and scholar. In 1968, the Central States Speech Association honored him with their Outstanding Young Teacher Award. He also is a recipient of a W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, a special Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, and has been recognized by the American Forensics Association for his service to the discipline of argumentation studies. In 1988, the Wichita Eagle Beacon presented Parson with its Distinguished Kansan Award. Rowland commented that "these awards reflect only the tip of the iceberg in terms of his influence. Generations of KU debaters, assistant debate coaches, graduate students, and undergraduates have been influenced by Parson's commitment to informed advocacy."