TAMPA, Fla. — Norm Parker is fit, energized and ready to coach the Iowa Hawkeyes’ defense for the foreseeable future.
The 67-year-old defensive coordinator said Monday that he hopes to coach for a long time.
“I feel great and I’m having fun,” said Parker, who’s been Kirk Ferentz’s only defensive coordinator in 10 seasons at Iowa. “We’ve got good kids, so why not? If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it.
“If we didn’t have good kids and it wasn’t fun, I’d go fishing.”
If you wonder how a 67-year-old connects with 20-year-olds, just listen to what senior defensive tackle Mitch King has to say.
“Getting recruited by Norm and being apart of what he has been the last four or five years . . . he’s an amazing person,” King said. “He’s funny. He’s the smartest football guy I’ve been around my entire life.
“He can look at something, he can fall asleep, wake up and know exactly what happened before he woke up. That’s how intelligent he is when it comes to football.”
King believes the legacy Parker will leave, when he does leave, will keep Iowa’s defense competitive and strong for years. He also said if Parker wanted to retire, he’d deserve it.
“He always says his wife (Linda) doesn’t want him to be home, but I highly doubt that,” King said.
And right on cue, Parker was asked if his wife wanted him around.
“No, she doesn’t even like me,” he said.
The Doak Walker trophy showed up at the Tampa Convention Center on Monday. It sat on a try, just to the right of its current owner, Iowa running back Shonn Greene.
This was the first time he’d seen it since he won the award, which goes to the nation’s top running back, on Dec. 11 in Orlando, Fla.
Does he get to keep it?
“I actually don’t know,” Greene said. “I honestly don’t know. I hope so.”
Where would you put it? On the TV back home, like South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and his 1966 Heisman Trophy?
“I’d take it back home to Jersey,” said the Sicklerville, N.J., native. “I’d keep it somewhere.”