Why Todd 'Parney' Parnell, the heart and soul of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, is stepping down as team CEO

Posted at 12:45 PM, Sep 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-07 09:23:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Todd "Parney" Parnell, the heart and soul of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, will step down from his position as team Chief Executive Officer on September 30. He will remain in Richmond and will serve the team as an advisor for the next five years.

Parnell, 57, spoke with CBS 6 sports director Lane Casadonte about the decision to end his day-to-day role with the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

"I’m not retiring. I’m not going away. But my days of being here for 16 hours are coming to an end," he said in an interview that will air on CBS 6 News at 6.

"This is a positive day for my family and it's a positive day for the Squirrels," Parney said from his office at the Diamond. "I've always wanted to know when it was time to refocus. I've agreed with (principal owner) Lou (DiBella) that I'm not going away for a long, long time. It's just going to be at a different pace."

"I'm slowing down. I'm not stopping," he said.

Parnell, a multi-time winner of Eastern League Executive of the Year, has led the Squirrels since the team's arrival in Richmond ahead of the 2010 baseball season. But that drive and focus can take a toll both personally and professionally. Parnell came to a realization last fall that he needed to make something of a change.

"I was sitting with my kids on the beach in Sandbridge," Parnell recalled. "I had this feeling, being here from 6:30 in the morning until 1 a.m. for 34 years, I wanted to shift into another role before that took a toll."

Parnell also wanted to assure everyone this is not a move for any health related issue, nor is he being pushed aside by any facet of the organization.

"There is not one negative thing about this," Parnell stated. "My life will revolved around my family. I'll still be focused on the new ballpark and I'll assist the staff as much as they want or don't want."

"But my days of having my life consumed by a pocket schedule, that's what needed to stop," Parnell explained.

Aside from Richmond Flying Squirrels mascots Nutzy and Nutasha, Parnell is arguably the most recognizable face (and inarguably wears the most recognizable pants) at the Diamond.

Todd "Parney" Parnell
Todd "Parney" Parnell

And he has assembled a staff that is more than capable of putting the same product on the field and in the stands night after night without his oversight, a realization that helped make his decision easier.

"We've had one of the best years we've had in over a decade," Parnell explained. "I stand back and watch everybody on this staff do things during the games, and I'm like the proud papa. I'm moving on from the dad role to the grandfather role."

"It's time for me and it's time for them," Parnell continued. "I can honestly tell you I have never felt more peaceful in my life, except for my wedding day. It's worked out great for everybody."

"I think its a win-win all the way around."

CBS 6 provides Central Virginia with the only local TV sports coverage in town. Depend on Lane Casadonte and Sean Robertson for the most complete local sports coverage.