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College Football: Iowa Hawkeyes’ Phil Parker wins Frank Broyles Award as top defensive coach

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – University of Iowa defensive coordinator and secondary coach Phil Parker has been named the recipient of the 2023 Broyles Award, it was announced Tuesday.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – University of Iowa defensive coordinator and secondary coach Phil Parker has been named the recipient of the 2023 Broyles Award, it was announced Tuesday at the awards ceremony by the Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation. The Broyles Award is presented annually to the top assistant coach in college football.

“Phil Parker is an incredible football coach, and I am extremely pleased that he has been recognized for his career success by the Broyles Committee,” said Moon Family Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz. “We simply would not have achieved the success we have as a program without Phil’s dedication and leadership. Since 1999, we have benefited from Phil’s expertise and tenacity.

“Phil is an exceptional coach and teacher. He has helped develop hundreds of student athletes into better football players on the field and prepared them to be better men off the field. He is one of a kind, and I am so happy that he has been by my side in this program throughout the past 25 years.”

The honor is the first of Parker’s career. He was also a Broyles Award semifinalist in 2022. Two previous Hawkeye coaches — Norm Parker (2013) and Ron Aiken (2002) — have been named the AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year. Norm Parker was also a finalist in 2004 and 2005.

Phil Parker, who is in his 25th season on Iowa’s coaching staff (12th as defensive coordinator), has been the mastermind behind one of the nation’s top defenses in 2023. The Hawkeyes have allowed just 15 touchdowns in 13 games (tied for the third fewest in the NCAA) and the unit ranks fourth nationally, giving up 13.2 points per game.

The point per game average is the lowest by a Hawkeye defense since 2008.

The Hawkeyes have given up one touchdown or less in 10 of 13 games this season and the unit is ranked fifth nationally in total defense (274.8) for a sixth straight year. Iowa’s defense has allowed 400 yards or fewer in 27 straight games dating back to the 2021 season — the longest active streak nationally.

One of Parker’s main principles is limiting “explosive” plays. In 2023, the Hawkeyes have allowed just 18 such plays in 13 games.

Across the board, Iowa ranks in the top 20 nationally in virtually every defensive category this season, including being fifth in team passing efficiency defense (100.46), 12th in red zone defense (.750), 13th in rushing defense (102.5), 16th in first downs defense (205) and 19th in third-down conversion defense (.316).

Under Parker’s tutelage, three defensive players — DB Cooper DeJean, DB Sebastian Castro and LB Jay Higgins — were midseason All-Americans. DeJean was a finalist for the Nagurski Award and Thorpe Award and a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, while Higgins was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award.

DeJean was also named the recipient of the 2023 Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, becoming the sixth Hawkeye to be voted the top defensive back in the conference under Parker’s watch.

The No. 17 Hawkeyes will play No. 21 Tennessee on Jan. 1, 2024, in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The game will start at noon (CT) and will be televised on ABC.

(IMAGE via @BroylesAward)

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