I’ve only taken an interest in covering sports for the last couple of years and when Norm Parker came and took over the Hawkeye defensive coordinator position in 1999, I was 7. Growing up I was an avid Hawkeye fan, but I don’t think I can adequately say how much Norm Parker meant to the University of Iowa and all of the people that came across him during his time.
Parker was the defensive coordinator at Iowa from 1999-2011. During his time, Hawkeye defenses were something to be feared. He had notable athletes come through the program and impact the university in a positive way. Tyler Sash, Chad Greenway, and Pat Angerer were all standouts at Iowa that Parker helped mold.
Just saw this..longtime Iowa football coach Norm Parker passed away..EVERY Iowa player I ever talked to loved that man
— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) January 13, 2014
Parker wasn’t a guy who received a lot of attention, and I think he liked it that way. Everyone in Hawkeye country new who he was because of his lethal defenses, but I don’t know if your casual sports fan from a different school can tell you who he is. That doesn’t make him any less important to people in Iowa City and Hawkeye fans in general.
Looking at twitter this morning, you could tell what kind of impact he made on peoples lives.
R.I.P. Coach Norm Parker. Thank you for everything!
— Tyler Sash (@TSash) January 13, 2014
RIP to Norm Parker great mentor & leader on & off the field, everyone keep him & his family in yours prayers.
— Shaun Prater (@Shaun_Prater) January 13, 2014
I’m not even going to take a stab at describing him because frankly, I didn’t get to have the privilege of knowing him. But what I can do is tell you about some of his Hawkeye defenses.
The Hawkeyes ranked in the top 10 in rushing defense 5 times during Parker’s tenure. He also led the defenses during Iowa’s 2002 and 2004 Big Ten championships. He was also along for the ride in Iowa’s 2009 Orange Bowl win.
He didn’t really do anything fancy with his defense schemes. He didn’t gamble often, he was going to make that offense earn the points with 8-12 play drives. He was basically going to let you make the mistake as the offense. He had the athletes to do this and they understood what he wanted them to do. That is why so many people were sad to see him go after the 2011 season.
I am going to leave you with this. I think this truly says what kind of impact he had on not only defensive players, but he also impacted the offensive players as well.
“Boys do what they want to do, Men do what they have to do” RIP Norm Parker
— Tony Moeaki (@TonyMoeaki81) January 13, 2014