Aug. 29, 2014
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Love of country, farming, and Norm.
Those are three things being honored on the University of Iowa football helmets this season. The first two -- an ANF and American flag logo -- have been around for years. The other -- a small sticker the size of a thumb print -- debuts Saturday in the lower right corner on the back of each Hawkeye player's helmet. The sticker reads NORM and honors former defensive coordinator Norm Parker who passed away Jan. 13 at the age of 72.
Parker was a member of head coach Kirk Ferentz's staff starting in 1999, coaching the likes of Aaron Kampman, Bob Sanders, Jared Clauss, Matt Roth, Jonathan Babineaux, Sean Considine, Chad Greenway, Abdul Hodge, Pat Angerer, Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard, Karl Klug, and Micah Hyde.
"It's good that we recognize coach Parker and his legacy," said UI defensive tackle Carl Davis. "He coached a lot of great defensive players who attributed their success to him. He was a great coach."
Parker and Davis are both natives of the state of Michigan -- Parker from Hazel Park, Davis from Detroit.
"We joked around about being from the same place," Davis said.
Parker concluded a 47-year coaching career following the 2011 Insight Bowl. That was Davis' redshirt freshman season. Davis enters his final year of college on watch lists for the Bednarik Award (top defensive player), Outland Trophy (outstanding interior lineman), Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman of the year), and Bronko Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year). He has been named to preseason All-America and All-Big Ten teams.
Davis laughs when recalling one of his first practices under Parker.
"Those first couple years he was on me," he said. "I remember my first warmup when I was dying, he said `Hey, you have to get your fat (butt) in shape.' That's how he greeted me; but he cared about us, that was his way of doing things."
Parker also coached at St. John's (Michigan) High School, Eastern Michigan, Wake Forest, Minnesota, Illinois, East Carolina, Michigan State, and Vanderbilt.
The NORM stickers will be worn throughout the 2014 season.