By Brendan Stiles
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Becoming Iowa’s defensive coordinator wasn’t a goal Phil Parker had set for himself. He had spent the last 24 seasons as a defensive backs coach, including the last 13 years in that position at Iowa. Offers to leave for other coaching gigs came over the course of those 13 years, but Parker and his family remained content being in Iowa.
The patience paid off for Parker, who spoke publicly for the first time Friday since being promoted to defensive coordinator on Feb. 7 by head coach Kirk Ferentz.
Parker said he was offered the position in late January, and the comfort zone both he and his family had was more than enough to accept the challenge.
“I think when you’re in this profession, and I’ve been coaching for 24 years with the secondary, that you always have goals set,” Parker said. “It just seemed like a good opportunity for me and my family.”
As for how he would differentiate himself from his predecessor, Norm Parker, Phil said he plans to be himself, but that not a whole lot would be different. Iowa will still run a 4-3 scheme as it has since Ferentz took over as head coach before the 1999 season.
“There might be a little bit more things, how we prepare, how we look at things,” Parker said. “We may try to get a guy down a little bit more than we usually do. But really, when it comes down to it, you’re still teaching fundamentals and it’s going to come down to getting off blocks and making tackles and keeping guys from scoring.”
Ferentz reiterated Friday that Parker’s track record as an assistant coach was what ultimately stood out to him when making the decision to promote him on the coaching staff.
“He has got a very sharp mind, very inquisitive mind professionally,” Ferentz said. “Most importantly, his players have reflected his coaching on the field. They respond to what he has coached them to do and they’ve gone out and performed in a really admirable way.”
Parker, who had handled recruiting in the Ohio and Michigan areas, said he hopes he’s still able to use the recruiting connections he has in those states after he acknowledged he would be on the road less as a result of his promotion. After introducing Parker Friday, Ferentz said both Parker and newly-named offensive coordinator Greg Davis wouldn’t have official recruiting areas like the other assistant coaches would be designated but that both coordinators would play recruiting roles.
Davis will be introduced and hold a press conference at the Hayden Fry Football Complex on March 5, seven days after officially being named offensive coordinator. On Friday, Ferentz commented publicly for the first time on hiring the former Texas offensive coordinator, who will also handle duties as Iowa’s quarterbacks coach.
Ferentz said Davis would have all the play-calling duties and that he had no issues with Davis being away from football for a year after he resigned from Texas in 2010 following 13 seasons on Mack Brown’s staff as offensive coordinator.
“I can just tell you this — he was out because he chose to be out,” Ferentz said. “I would imagine he probably had a couple options. We’re just really excited to have him.”
TRANSCRIPT: Ferentz/Parker transcript (March 2, 2012) (Courtesy: UI Sports Info.)