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Norm Parker is in his 12th year as defensive coordinator at the University of Iowa. He previously coached the Hawkeye inside linebackers and he coached the outside linebackers during his first three years on the Iowa staff. Parker was named a finalist for the Frank Broyles Assistant Coach of the Year in both 2004 and 2005.
Under Parker's direction, the Iowa defense is regarded as one of the most physical, hard-hitting units in the Big Ten and the nation. Iowa has been bowl eligible in each of the last nine seasons. The Hawkeyes concluded the 2009 season with a 24-14 win in the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl and a national ranking of seventh in the nation. Iowa has ranked in the final top 10 of both major polls four times in the past eight seasons.
The Hawkeye defense, last season, led the Big Ten Conference in pass defense and pass efficiency defense, while ranking second in interceptions and third in scoring defense, total defense and first down allowed. Nationally, Iowa was third in pass defense efficiency, fourth in pass defense, eighth in scoring defense and first downs allowed and 10th in total defense.
Due in large part to the play of the defense each year, the Hawkeyes have played in eight bowl games since 2001, including six appearances in January bowl games. Iowa has won five bowl games since 2001, including four January bowl victories. The Hawkeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title in both 2002 and 2004 and tied for second a year ago.
The Hawkeyes have won 70 games over the past eight seasons, including 42 Big Ten games. Iowa has finished in the Big Ten's first division in eight of the past nine years. The January Bowl wins have come over Florida (2004 Outback), LSU (2005 Capital One), South Carolina (2009 Outback) and Georgia Tech (2010 Orange).
Under Parker's direction, Iowa has ranked among the top 10 in the nation in rushing defense four times. Iowa has been in the top 10 in scoring defense in each of the past two seasons after ranking 12th in 2007. In 2009, four Hawkeye defensive players were named first team all-Big Ten by league coaches. Three players from that unit were selected in the 2010 NFL draft, including LB Pat Angerer (second round, Indianapolis), DB Amari Spievey (third round, Detroit) and OLB A.J. Edds (fourth round, Miami).
Parker's defensive unit played a key role in Iowa's success in 2008 as the Hawkeyes won six of their last seven games to post a 9-4 final record. Iowa led the Big Ten and ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. Iowa was second in the league in rushing defense and total defense, ranking ninth and 12th in the nation in those categories, respectively. DT Mitch King was named Defensive Lineman of the Year and LB Pat Angerer earned second team all-conference honors.
Defensive back Bradley Fletcher was selected in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft, while King and DT Matt Kroul both signed NFL free agent contracts immediately following the draft.
Iowa closed the 2007 season with three wins in its last four games. Iowa led the Big Ten in turnover margin (+8) and redzone defense (68.4%) while ranking third in scoring defense (18.8) and rushing defense (122.0) and fourth in pass efficiency defense (115.7).
LB Mike Klinkenborg earned first team academic all-America honors and was a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete in 2007. LB Mike Humpal earned second team all-league honors and was the Bronko Nagurski and Master Coaches national Player of the Week following Iowa's 10-6 win over nationally-ranked Illinois.
Humpal was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL draft. In addition, defensive back Charles Godfrey was selected in the third round by Carolina and defensive end Ken Iwebema was selected by Arizona in the fourth round.
The Hawkeye defenders did much to turn around Iowa's 2005 season. The defense was able to shut down a pair of nationally ranked teams (Wisconsin and Minnesota) in the final two games to clinch a fourth straight January bowl bid. Iowa led the Big Ten in redzone defense and ranked third in rushing defense and scoring defense.
The defense set the tone for Iowa's championship run in 2004, as Iowa won its final eight games of the season, including the win over LSU, the defending national champion, in the Capital One Bowl. Five of eight league foes scored two touchdowns or less and three were held to seven points or less.
Iowa, in 2004, ranked fifth nationally in rushing defense (92.5), sixth in turnover margin (+1.08), 11th in total defense (293.8) and 16th in scoring defense (17.6). The Hawkeyes led the Big Ten in rushing defense and turnover margin, while leading the league in redzone defense for the second straight year. Iowa finished second in the Big Ten in total defense in 2001, third in 2004, fourth in 2003 and 2005 and fifth in 2002. Iowa led the league in scoring defense (16.2) in 2003.
Iowa, in 2003, ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense (16.2), eighth in rushing defense (92.7), 16th in total defense (314.5) and 24th in pass efficiency defense (110.3). The Hawkeye defense held eight of 13 opponents to less than 75 rushing yards.
Despite an entirely new defensive line that consisted of two freshman and two sophomores, Iowa's defense gained confidence and maturity as the 2005 season progressed. All-American linebackers Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway led the way, ranking first and second, respectively, in the Big Ten in tackles. Hodge (third) and Greenway (fifth) are both among Iowa's career tackle leaders. Greenway was a first round selection by Minnesota in the 2006 NFL Draft, while Hodge was selected in the third round by Green Bay.
Four Iowa defensive players were named first team all-Big Ten in 2004, with DE Matt Roth being the only unanimous selection by league coaches. Three Iowa players were named to the 2003 first all-Big Ten team and two others earned second team honors. Roth, DT Jonathan Babineaux and safety Sean Considine were all selected in the first four rounds of the 2005 NFL Draft and all three have played in the NFL the last five seasons.
In his first two years at Iowa Norm coached LeVar Woods, who played in the NFL for seven seasons. Parker, in his coaching career, has coached 34 players who have gone on to play in the NFL.
The 1997 Southeastern Conference Defensive Coordinator of the Year, Parker served in that capacity at Vanderbilt University for two seasons and as linebackers coach there for four seasons. In 1997, Vanderbilt's defense led the SEC and ranked ninth in the nation as all six seniors on that defensive unit went on to sign NFL contracts. As linebacker coach in his first two seasons in Nashville, Parker was instrumental in the development of first team All-American Jamie Duncan.
Prior to joining the Iowa staff, Parker coached 12 seasons (1983-94) at Michigan State, five at Minnesota (1972-76) and three at Illinois (1977-79).
At Michigan State, Parker served as defensive coordinator for five years and also coached the outside linebackers. During his tenure at Michigan State, the Spartans won the 1987 Big Ten title and shared the 1990 championship with the Hawkeyes. Parker helped Michigan State to seven bowl games, including the 1988 Rose Bowl, where the Spartans defeated USC, 20-17.
From 1980-82 Parker served as defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach at East Carolina. He coached outside linebackers and was director of recruiting at Illinois from 1977-79. At Minnesota from 1972-76, Parker helped the Gophers compile winning records in three of five seasons. Parker also coached receivers at Wake Forest from 1969-71.
Parker earned his B.S. degree in special education in 1965 and his M.A. in physical education in 1967 from Eastern Michigan, where he lettered four times in football and was a member of the wrestling squad for two seasons. Parker was the head coach at St. John's High School in Ypsilanti, MI (1965-67) before joining the staff at Eastern Michigan as offensive line coach (1968).
Parker was born Oct. 9 and he is a native of Hazel Park, MI. He and his wife, Linda, have five grown children, Chelly, Joyce, Jim, and Suzy, along with a special Hawk, Jeff, who is deceased. They also have six grandchildren, Tyler, Alyssa, Colton, Roxanne, Bridgette and Jasmine.
Parker's Coaching Career
Iowa DC, LB, 1999-present Vanderbilt DC, LB, 1996-97 LB, 1995-96 Michigan State DC, OLB, 1990-94 OLB, 1983-89 East Carolina DC, 1980-82 Illinois OLB, 1977-79 Minnesota DL, 1972-76 Wake Forest TE, WR, 1969-71 Eastern Michigan OL, 1968 St. John's (MI) HS HC, 1965-67
"It's great to be a member of the University of Iowa football staff under the direction of Coach Kirk Ferentz.
This is truly a combination of a special place, being led by a special coach. The work ethic of the people in the state of Iowa, the University of Iowa, and Coach Ferentz, is something that is unique. To be a part of this situation, to be involved with the Iowa football program, the University of Iowa and fans of the Hawkeyes, is a great thrill for myself and my family."