Phil Parker named defensive coordinator


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Longtime Iowa defensive backs coach Phil Parker has been promoted to defensive coordinator, the Iowa football team announced in a release on Tuesday afternoon.

Parker's promotion ends what had been an almost two-month-long search to replace the retired Norm Parker (no relation).

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz also looked in-house to plug other holes in his defensive coaching staff.

Former linebacker coach Darrell Wilson will take over for Phil Parker as secondary coach, and former offensive-line specialist Reese Morgan will switch to the other side of the trenches and handle the defensive line, taking over from the departed Rick Kaczenski. Parker, Wilson, and Morgan all have at least 10 years' experience at Iowa.

"Phil, Darrell, and Reese have all done an outstanding job in our program for a significant period of time," Ferentz said in the release. "I'm confident they will have a very positive effect on our team as we transition forward."

Parker has some experience as a defensive coordinator; he helped fill in for Norm Parker when the latter was sidelined with health problems during the 2010 season.

He is most known for his work coaching Iowa's defensive backfield over the past 13 years, though. Twelve of his former Hawkeyes have spent time in the NFL, and Iowa was one of the top 15 teams in interceptions in three of the past four years.

Parker, a 48-year-old Ohio native, was a three-time All-Big Ten defensive back at Michigan State in the mid-1980s. He served as a graduate assistant on Spartan team that won the 1988 Rose Bowl before becoming the secondary coach at Toledo.

He spent 11 seasons with the Rockets, helped them win two Mid-American Conference championships, and coached three NFL DBs. Ferentz hired him to join his original Hawkeye staff before the 1999 season.

"Love seeing Phil Parker named the new defensive coordinator at #Iowa," tweeted former Hawkeye safety Matt Bowen, who starred for Parker in that 1999 campaign. "Excellent teacher, tough and will bring some new looks to the D."

Wilson has been on Ferentz's staff for 10 years and has coached both linebackers and special teams; the release didn't specify if he would continue with the latter responsibility.

Five of Wilson's linebacking pupils at Iowa have been selected in the NFL draft: Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge in 2006, Mike Humpal in 2008, and Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds in 2010.

Morgan will enter his 13th year at Iowa next season, his first ever as a college defensive coach; he tutored tight ends for the first two years he was on Ferentz's staff, and he has spent the last 10 on the offensive line.

He had plenty of success at both positions, presiding over tight end Dallas Clark and a slew of linemen including Robert Gallery, Marshal Yanda, and Bryan Bulaga.

But ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg said Morgan's lack of defensive experience could be a problem.

"Morgan's move is, well, odd,"Rittenberg wrote on Tuesday. "Defensive line is Iowa's biggest question mark entering 2012 — yes, even bigger than running back — so we'll see early how Morgan fares with the transition."

Ferentz still has to hire a replacement for Wilson at the linebacker spot, someone to take over for Morgan at the offensive line, an offensive coordinator, and mabye a quarterback coach (NFL-bound Ken O'Keefe handled both of the last two duties).

He'll hold a press conference today at 4 p.m. in the Hayden Fry Football complex.

Follow DI Sports Editor Seth Roberts on Twitter.

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