Norm Looking Beyond Tuesday

Dec. 27, 2010

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Hawkeyes welcomed back a familiar face in their preparations for the Insight Bowl against No. 14 Missouri earlier this month. Defensive coordinator Norm Parker is back directing the defense, and it’s a post he’s expecting to keep for a very long time.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz told Parker to take his time when making the decision on whether or not to return.

“Kirk has said, do what you want to do, do what you’re comfortable with,” said Parker at the team’s media gathering in Iowa City on Dec. 17 at the Hayden Fry Football Complex. “Don’t think about quitting or something like that. Don’t make any stupid, rash decision.”

Parker spoke like a man that was set on returning for his 43rd season as a college football assistant and his 13th with the Hawkeyes.

“Before when I was coaching, it was all about the wins, that kind of stuff,” explained Parker. “Now it’s all 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,” he said with a laugh. “I guess it amounts to I really realized what I am and who I am and this is what I like. This is really what I like doing.”

Parker missed seven games during the 2010 season and was forced to coach the second half of the 2009 campaign from the press box due to diabetes-related complications. This season, he underwent surgery to have the foot amputated before being fitted with a prosthetic.

When asked how long he’d like to be coaching, Parker was quick to respond. “A long time. You know, I mean, 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?

“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.”

Parker isn’t one to feel sorry for himself either. He’s moving full steam ahead in life and in his desire to coach the Hawkeyes in the 2011 season.

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

Parker is doing just that and he’s making sure Iowa football is a part of it.

“I’m coming back,” said Parker. “I mean, if I don’t, I’ll be really disappointed.”