Dec. 10, 2013
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NEW YORK CITY — Norm Parker coached a lot of great football players from 1968-2011 and two of his finest were together Tuesday at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
Percy Snow, a linebacker for Michigan State from 1986-89, was inducted into the 2013 National Football Foundation Hall of Fame; James Morris, a linebacker for the University of Iowa from 2010-13, is in the running for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
Parker was Snow’s linebacker coach, and Iowa was 1-2-1 against Michigan State during Snow’s career. In his Hall of Fame remarks, Snow gave a shoutout to his coaches — including Parker — during the news conference Tuesday.
“Coach Parker was mild-mannered,” said Snow. “He wanted to coach consistency and he wanted you to go out and play hard. Coach Parker was a little more mellow and more precise on exactly how he wanted it done.”
Snow remembers the 1988 game against the Hawkeyes in East Lansing, Mich., that ended in a 10-10 tie. He had one of the highlight plays of his career, intercepting a pass and then hurdling a would-be Iowa tackler before he was eventually brought down in Iowa territory.
“I have a 10-year-old son and he laughs and tells me I have no hops,” Snow said.
Snow said he hasn’t spoken to Parker in a few years, but he still cherishes the influence his former coach had on his life.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better coach,” Snow said. “I loved playing for him. Some guys are kind of hard to play for, but you always wanted to go out and play hard for coach Parker. You didn’t want to let him down.”
Parker coached at Michigan State from 1983-94; he was on the Hawkeye staff from 1999-2011.
Another person elected to the NFF Hall of Fame was former Colorado coach Bill McCartney. McCartney recalled a game Sept. 17, 1988, when he brought his Buffalos into Kinnick Stadium and left with a 24-21 win. Colorado scored the game-winner when quarterback Sal Aunese crossed the goal line with 1:55 left in the game.
“When we won that game it gave us a lot of confidence and put our program on the map,” McCartney said. “That was a good Hayden Fry-coached football team.”