Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the historic career of the Iowa Hawkeye nation's legendary Defensive Coordinator, Norm Parker.
Norm came to Iowa City in 1999 with a new coaching staff faced with the daunting task of reestablishing the Iowa Hawkeyes as a powerhouse football program on the national stage. Coach Parker played a pivotal role in accomplishing this task in short order by consistently coaching the Hawkeye defense into one of the nation's best. Norm built the Hawkeye defense into one of the most consistently dominant defensive units in all of college football both statistically and physically.
Over the last 13 years, Coach Parker has coached 34 players, prior to this year's upcoming draft, that have gone on to play at the sport's highest level in the National Football League. At the University of Iowa, Norm's rushing defense finished among the nation's top ten on five separate occasions, in addition to three top-ten scoring defenses in the last four years.
Any fan of college football knows that Coach Parker held a commitment to his program that is unlike any other, and in 2010, despite his battle with serious medical issues, coached the Hawkeyes to a fifth-ranked national defense, sixth-ranked rushing defense, and seventh-ranked scoring defense before finishing the season as the Insight Bowl Champions. In 2011, Norm announced his retirement just weeks after being awarded the nation's Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
Throughout his 48-year football career, Norm has held himself to the highest standards of professionalism and commitment. His success as a defensive coach is only matched by his impact as a positive role model for countless young Iowans, on and off the field. Whether you are a fan of the Hawkeyes, the Cyclones, the Bulldogs or the Panthers, there is no denying the profound impact Coach Parker has had on college football and the state of Iowa in general.
Mr. Speaker, I believe Iowa sportscaster Jon Miller said it best when he proclaimed, ``Simply put, Iowa football would not be Iowa football without Norm Parker. Iowa football will have a tough time remaining Iowa football without Norm Parker.'' The impact Coach Parker has had on Hawkeye football and the state of Iowa will be evident for decades. Even as a Cyclone, it is my distinct honor to represent all college football fans across Iowa, the nation, and in the United States Congress, in thanking Coach Norm Parker for his commitment and dedication to the sport of football, his students, and the people of Iowa and wishing Norm and his wife Linda a long, happy and healthy retirement with much less stressful Saturdays.
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