The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa defensive coordinator wins Broyles Award, given to best assistant coach in college football

Phil Parker has been Iowa’s defensive coordinator since 2012 and its defensive backs coach since 1999.
Iowa+defensive+coordinator+Phil+Parker+listens+to+a+staffer+during+a+spring+football+practice+at+the+Kinnick+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+April+22%2C+2023.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker listens to a staffer during a spring football practice at the Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker has been named the Broyles Award winner, given to the best assistant coach in college football.

After losing seven defensive starters from last year’s squad, including two first-round NFL Draft picks in Lukas Van Ness and Jack Campbell, Parker reloaded and produced one of the best defenses in college football yet again. Phil Parker has been Iowa’s defensive coordinator since 2012 and its defensive backs coach since 1999.

The Hawkeyes are currently ranked No. 5 in total defense in FBS, yielding 274.8 yards per game, and No. 4 in scoring defense, giving up 13.2 points per game.

Parker’s group has allowed 3.99 yards per play in the last two seasons.  This year, that number ranks second behind Penn State (3.91). Last year, that was the best mark for any FBS program since Florida State in 2012.

Parker was the only defensive coach up for the Broyles Award, beating out Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, LSU offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, Michigan offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore, and Oregon offensive coordinator Will Stein.

“When you think of Iowa football, you think about toughness, and [Phil Parker] exemplifies that on a daily basis when you get to know him,” Stein said at the awards ceremony on Tuesday.

Parker’s defense held Moore’s offense to 3.3 yards per play in the Big Ten Championship, marking the Wolverines’ worst offensive performance in the Jim Harbaugh era. The Hawkeyes held the Wolverines to 213 total yards, well under Michigan’s season average of almost 400 yards per contest.  

This masterclass performance came without one of Iowa’s most talented players, defensive back and punt returner Cooper DeJean, who suffered a season-ending injury ahead of the Illinois game. 

DeJean took home Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year. Under Parker, Iowa has had five Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year honorees since 2015, including Desmond King, Josh Jackson, Amani Hooker, and Riley Moss. No other school has more than one.

According to The Des Moines Register’s Chad Leistikow, the Hawkeyes have faced 896 plays on defense this season, the fourth-most in the country, and have given up 18 plays of 20+ yards, the fewest in the nation. Since 2009, Iowa has grabbed an NCAA-best 234 interceptions.

Iowa’s defense has allowed 400 yards or fewer in 27 straight games dating back to the 2021 season — the longest active streak nationally.

“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,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz released in a statement. “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.”

Parker attended the awards ceremony in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Tuesday afternoon and was introduced before the winner was announced.

“This was one of the greatest years that we’ve had, with all the different challenges (we’ve) had,” Parker said. “Losing players, struggling a little bit on offense. But sticking together the way they stuck together as a team and didn’t divide … I really appreciated the way they went about their business.”

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About the Contributors
Kenna Roering, Sports Editor
she/her/hers
Kenna Roering is The Daily Iowan's sports editor. She is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism with a minor in sports and recreation management. Kenna previously worked as a sports reporter for men's wrestling and volleyball and was the summer sports editor in 2023. This is her second year with the DI.
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
(he/him/his)
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.