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You can't keep Iowa's Norm Parker down

Norm Parker will return as Iowa's defensive coordinator in 2011.

Was there ever any doubt?

Sure, Parker is 69 years old and has endured a string of recent health problems, including foot-amputation surgery in September that kept him away from the team for much of the season. But Parker is a coaching lifer, a tough-as-nails throwback type, and he has no plans to step away from the game he loves.

"I really missed it," Parker told reporters Friday in Iowa City. "The first game I got to come to was the Michigan State game. I was sitting at that game up in the press box and thinking to yourself, 'This is really where I want to be. This is who I am, what I live for.'

"So there's no questions of my intentions that next year is to be back, to be back stronger and healthier than ever."

Great to hear.

Life has changed for Parker when his right foot was amputated in late September. He spent several weeks in a rehabilitation center before working toward a return to full duties. Parker is back in the office now and helping Iowa's defense prepare for its upcoming Insight Bowl matchup Dec. 28 against Missouri.

The veteran defensive boss sees no reason why he can't keep coaching.

"I've seen these pictures of guys on artificial legs snow skiing," Parker said. "If they can do that, why can't I coach? There are actually days when I have to look down to figure out when I have this prosthetic on which one is the real leg and which one is the artificial leg. ... You get out of bed, you don't have the artificial leg on, it's a long fall to the ground. You start to get out of bed, you say, 'Oh, [expletive], I only got one leg on, I better get the other leg on.'

"You don't have to be in University Hospital or Mercy Hospital to find out there's a lot of guys got it worse than you got it. So quit aching and complaining about it and get moving."

Whether you're an Iowa fan or not, you have to love Parker's attitude toward life and football. He remains a treasure to both the Big Ten and to the coaching profession.

And with Parker back in the office breaking down film, Iowa's chances of ending a disappointing season on a good note certainly improve.