Jan. 4, 2010
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following first appeared in the Jan. 2 edition of the University of Iowa’s Official Sports Report, a free daily e-newsletter. For more information about the UI’s OSR, click HERE.
MIAMI —The resume is long. It starts in 1965 as the head coach of St. John’s High School in Michigan.
It includes duties as offensive line coach, tight ends and wide receivers coach, defensive line coach, outside linebackers, linebackers and four stints as defensive coordinator.
The map includes pins stuck at Eastern Michigan, Wake Forest, Minnesota, Illinois, East Carolina, Michigan State twice, Vanderbilt twice and, finally – and currently – the University of Iowa.
It would be difficult to argue that Norm Parker doesn’t have a very, very good take on what a great head coach leads like, teaches like, and mentors like. And, not just a good head coach, mind you. A ! great one. He’s certainly worked for enough of them – coaches, that is, not necessarily good or great ones – and it’s unlikely he’d trade any for the one he’s working alongside today: Kirk Ferentz, the 2009 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year who is one game away – the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl next Tuesday night against Georgia Tech – from closing the book on his 11th season as head coach of the Hawkeyes.
“I don’t think there is a better guy in the country to work for than Kirk Ferentz,” Parker shared Friday when asked about being a member of a coaching staff that doesn’t experience much, if any, turnover.
“I think every guy knows we’ve got good jobs. We work for a good guy. We’re doing it the right way. There are a lot of head coaches that get up every morning and take an idiot pill. You know, they think the world revolves and sets around them.Kirk is a guy that was an assistant coach. He’s the best guy in the ! world to work for. He has absolutely no ego.”
“I think every guy knows we’ve got good jobs. We work for a good guy. We’re doing it the right way. There are a lot of head coaches that get up every morning and take an idiot pill. You know, they think the world revolves and sets around them.
“Kirk is a guy that was an assistant coach. He’s the best guy in the ! world to work for. He has absolutely no ego,” Parker said, bef ore summing his peer up in one very simple sentence:
“He’s got it in the right perspective. There should be more Kirk Ferentz’s out there.”
The member of the media that asked the question wanted Parker to elaborate on the clear relationship between leadership and coaching staff stability and success as a college football program. Parker didn’t answer that piece of the question directly, but as fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes know, the UI has had two coaches in the last 31 college football season – Ferentz and one of Ferentz’s first bosses, Hadyen Fry. Fry returned Iowa to a position of national prominence shortly after coming to Iowa City in 1979.
Ferentz has raised the bar even higher and will look to climb another rung on that ladder next week with the Hawkeyes’ first win in a BCS game since the 1959 Rose Bowl. He would be the first to tell you, however, that he certainly doesn’t do it alone.