Not long before the 2010 Big Ten Media Days circus got underway, rumors began circulating on Twitter about the possible retirement of Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker at season's end.
Parker is entering his 46th season of his coaching career and his 12th as an assistant at Iowa.
Hawkeye Insider's Rob Howe tweeted that, from what he was hearing, Parker would retire following this approaching season. The rumors sent minor shock-waves through the Hawkeye fanbase, sending reporters scrambling for answers.
The 68-year-old Parker orchestrates a methodical defense that has been ranked among the top ten teams in the nation in rushing defense four times. When the rumor about Parker retiring reached head coach Kirk Ferentz's ears, he said it was news to him.
“I was a little upset because I was hoping he’d tell me, maybe, before the media," Ferentz joked with the media. "But, you know, I saw Norm last week. He’s fired up, ready to go. And I think he’s ready for camp, excited about this year. And he’s never indicated any thought of quitting."
The Iowa head coach told the media that his assistant coach will be doing his duties from the press box this year due to the side effects diabetes had had on him. Other than that, things appear normal.
"He loves doing it and he's got great passion for it. I'd be very, very surprised if it's in the near future."
Cedar Rapids Gazette writer Marc Morehouse offers up that "Ferentz might be playing coy," but that's meant more as devil's advocate than theory. Hawkeye Insider's Howe says he is confident in his source, but for now all indications are that Parker will be coaching at Iowa into the foreseeable future.
Hawkeye fans shouldn't worry. As coach Parker told KCRG News last fall, "I'll croak on the field someday."