Hawks' Parker: 'This is really where I want to be'

2010-12-17T23:57:00Z 2010-12-17T23:59:46Z Hawks' Parker: 'This is really where I want to be'Don Doxsie The Quad-City Times
December 17, 2010 11:57 pm  • 

IOWA CITY - If ever there were doubts in Norm Parker's mind about his future, all of them sifted away quickly Oct. 23.

Iowa's 68-year-old defensive coordinator had spent more than a month in the hospital battling diabetes. He'd had his right foot amputated. He had been separated from the coaches and players he loves. After six weeks away, he finally got to attend a game, if only as a spectator, when the Hawkeyes hosted Michigan State.

"I was sitting at that game up in the press box and thinking to myself ‘This is really where I want to be. This is who I am, what I live for,'" Parker said. "So there's no question my intention for next year is to be back, to be back stronger and healthier than ever."

After missing almost the entire season, Parker is back taking an active role with the Hawkeyes as they prepare to face Missouri in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 28 in Tempe, Ariz.

He struggled to get into the room with a walker and had to be assisted into a chair for a session with the media Friday, but he said nothing is going to keep him away from this game.

"I'm walking more now in the walker," he said. "I walked 150 yards, which I thought was pretty good. I've climbed 14 stairs, which can get me in an airplane, I hope.

"It's getting better. It's just taking a while. Takes a while to get it done."

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said Parker has been in the office every day in recent weeks and has not missed a practice.

There is little question the Hawkeyes missed Parker and his decades of defensive wisdom. In all five of their losses this season, they allowed the opponent to drive 70 or more yards for a game-winning touchdown in the final 5 minutes. It's not the sort of thing that happens against Norm Parker defenses.

Ferentz tiptoed a line between fully describing what Parker means to the team and criticizing those coaches who filled in during his absence.

"I think everybody did a great job of grabbing on, taking care of business ..." Ferentz said. "But over the long haul, we're better with Norm, no question about it. So it will be good to get him back and go from there."

Parker admitted that it was frustrating at times to see the Hawkeyes struggling on the defensive side of the ball.

"You know, that's football," he said. "I mean, sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. Really, if you asked me to explain this year, the Big Ten, I'd say it was the year of the quarterback. I think we got beat and we had trouble controlling some really, really good quarterbacks."

During his absence, there was an outpouring of love and concern for Parker. He said he received piles and piles of cards and letters. Iowa fans often chanted "Norm, Norm, Norm" when their defense was in a tough spot. Many had special shirts made up saying such things as "Norm only needs 1 foot to kick your (butt)."

Parker said the time away gave him a new appreciation for his position.

"Before when I was coaching, it was all about the wins, that kind of stuff," he said. "Now it's about being around the guys. In other words, I like to be around the young guys. I like being around the coaches. I like being out of the house. Don't say that too loud.

"I guess it amounts to I really realized what I am and who I am, and this is what I like."

Ferentz said he hopes Parker will remain a part of his staff for a long time to come.

Parker made it clear he's thinking along those same lines. Retirement isn't on his radar.

"Like I told somebody the other day, I've seen these pictures of guys on artificial legs snow skiing. If they can do that, why can't I coach?" he said. "There are actually days when I have to look down to figure out when I have this prosthetic on, which one is the real leg and which one is the artificial leg. It's starting to where it helps you, where it helps having something there ...

"You don't have to be in University Hospital or Mercy Hospital to find out there's a lot of guys got it worse than you got it. So quit aching and complaining about it and get moving."

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Football schedule

2015 Hawkeyes (0-0)

Date Opponent Time/result
9/5/2015 Illinois State TBA
9/12/2015 at Iowa State TBA
9/19/2015 Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
9/26/2015 North Texas TBA
10/3/2015 at Wisconsin TBA
10/10/2015 Illinois TBA
10/17/2015 at Northwestern TBA
10/31/2015 Maryland TBA
11/7/2015 at Indiana TBA
11/14/2015 Minnesota 7 p.m.
11/21/2015 Purdue TBA
11/27/2015 at Nebraska TBA

Past schedules

2014 Hawkeyes (7-6)

Date Opponent Time/result
8/30/2014 Northern Iowa W 31-23
9/6/2014 Ball State W 17-13
9/13/2014 Iowa State L 20-17
9/20/2014 at Pittsburgh W 24-20
9/27/2014 at Purdue W 24-10
10/11/2014 Indiana W 45-29
10/18/2014 at Maryland L 38-31
11/1/2014 Northwestern W 48-7
11/8/2014 at Minnesota L 51-14
11/15/2014 at Illinois W 30-14
11/22/2014 Wisconsin  L 26-24
11/28/2014 Nebraska L 37-34
1/2/2015 Tennessee L 45-28


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Basketball schedule

2014-15 Hawkeyes (22-12, 12-6)

11/02/14 Northwood (Exh.) W 92-51
11/14/14 Hampton W 90-56
11/17/14 ND State W 87-56
11/20/14 Texas # L 71-57
11/21/14 Syracuse # L 66-63
11/24/14 Pepperdine W 72-61
11/26/14 N. Illinois W 70-49
11/29/14 Longwood W 77-44
12/03/14 at N. Carolina W 60-55
12/06/14 Md. Baltimore Co. W 77-47
12/09/14 Alcorn State W 67-44
12/12/14 Iowa State L 90-75
12/20/14 N. Iowa* L 56-44
12/22/14 N. Florida W 80-70
12/30/14 at Ohio State W 71-65
01/05/15 Nebraska W 70-59
01/08/15 Michigan St. L 75-61
01/13/15 at Minnesota W 77-75
01/17/15 Ohio State W 76-67
01/20/15 at Wisconsin L 82-50
01/24/15 at Purdue L 67-63
01/31/15 Wisconsin L 74-63
02/05/15 at Michigan W 72-54
02/08/15 Maryland W 71-55
02/12/15 Minnesota L 64-59
02/15/15 at Northwestern L 66-61
02/19/15 Rutgers W 81-47
02/22/15 at Nebraska W 74-46
02/25/15 Illinois W 68-60
02/28/15 at Penn State W 81-77
03/03/15 at Indiana W 77-63
03/07/15 Northwestern W 69-52
03/12/15 Penn State (BTT) L 67-58
03/20/15 Davidson (NCAA) W 83-52
03/22/15 Gonzaga (NCAA) L 87-68
#-New York *-Des Moines  

Trophy case: Empty

Hawkeyes bowl history

1957 Rose   Oregon State W 35-19
1959 Rose   California W 38-12
1982 Rose   Washington L 28-0
1982 Peach   Tennessee W 28-22
1983 Gator   Florida L 14-6
1984 Freedom   Texas W 55-17
1986 Rose   UCLA L 45-28
1986 Holiday   SDSU W 39-38
1987 Holiday   Wyoming W 20-19
1988 Peach   NC State L 28-23
1991 Rose   Washington L 46-34
1991 Holiday   BYU T 13-13
1993 Alamo   California L 37-3
1995 Sun   Washington W 38-18
1996 Alamo   Texas Tech W 27-0
1997 Sun   Arizona State L 17-7
2001 Alamo   Texas Tech W 19-16
2003 Orange   USC L 38-17
2004 Outback   Florida W 37-17
2005 Capital One LSU W 30-25
2006 Outback   Florida L 31-24
2006 Alamo   Texas L 26-24
2009 Outback   South Carolina W 31-10
2010 Orange   Georgia Tech W 24-14
2010 Insight   Missouri W 27-24
2011 Insight   Oklahoma L 31-14
2014 Outback   LSU L 21-14
2015 TaxSlayer   Tennessee L 45-28