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Former B1G assistant Norm Parker dies

It's a sad day for the Big Ten community as Norm Parker, a former assistant at four Big Ten schools, has died at age 72.

Parker served as Iowa's defensive coordinator from 1999-2011, retiring following the 2011 Insight Bowl. He had five defenses rank in the top 10 in yards allowed, four that ranked in the top 10 against the run and two in the top 10 in points allowed.

Several former Hawkeye defenders, including Tyler Sash, Matt Kroul, Adrian Clayborn and Shaun Prater, expressed their appreciation for Parker on Twitter after learning of the coach's passing Monday.

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A cause of death hasn't been revealed, although Parker battled diabetes for much of his time at Iowa. He had his right foot amputated during the 2010 season but still returned to coach.

Beloved by Hawkeye players and fans, Parker's colorful personality inspired T-shirts and other tributes. I got to know him at the end of his coaching career, and it was easy to see why so many admired him not only as a coach but as a man.

Parker also had a lengthy tenure at Michigan State, serving as Spartans outside linebackers coach from 1983-89 and then taking over as defensive coordinator from 1990-94. He also had coordinator stints at both Vanderbilt and East Carolina, and made two other Big Ten stops at Illinois (outside linebackers, 1977-79) and Minnesota (defensive line, 1972-76).

RIP, Norm. You'll be missed.