Iowa football and the Big Ten is losing a coaching gem after the Insight Bowl as longtime Hawkeyes defensive coordinator Norm Parker will retire following the game.
Parker, 70, announced his impending retirement Sunday. He'll step down after the Dec. 30 bowl game after 13 seasons leading the Iowa defense.
It's not a surprise, given Parker's health problems in recent years. He has battled diabetes and had his right foot amputated in September 2010.
Iowa had five defenses finish in the top 10 nationally during Parker's tenure. He spent nearly 50 years in coaching and made stops at Michigan State, Illinois and Minnesota. Parker is a throwback and one of the more colorful personalities in the Big Ten. He'll certainly be missed.
Here are some statements:
Parker: "I would like to announce that the 2011 Insight Bowl will be my last game as a football coach at Iowa. I would like to personally thank Gary Barta, Kirk Ferentz, the coaches, and players at Iowa, along with the fantastic fans. It has been a great time, one that myself and my entire family greatly appreciate. I would also like to thank the office staff, the equipment people, and a special thanks to the medical staff, as I used them enough. The entire Hawkeye community has been great. My wife Linda, and all the members of our family, were very pleased to be members of the Hawkeye family. We truly enjoyed our time here. After 48 years of doing something I love, it is time to enjoy some time with the grandkids. Go Hawks!"
Head coach Kirk Ferentz: "Norm’s contributions to our team the past 13 years are deeply appreciated, as he has had a tremendous impact on our program. As I have said publicly on many occasions, Norm is a superb defensive coach and has served as a strong role model and mentor for all of our players and our entire staff."
Defensive assistant Phil Parker is a likely replacement if Ferentz chooses to promote from within. The Hawkeyes also could enter the sweepstakes for Mike Stoops, an Iowa alum.