IOWA CITY, Iowa – Doctors have amputated the right foot of Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker, who is battling complications from diabetes. That doesn't mean he won't be back for the Hawkeyes — maybe even this season.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday that Parker's foot was amputated about two weeks ago. It's unlikely Parker will return for Iowa's next game, against Michigan on Oct. 17, but he could be back by the end of the year.
"I'm very confident that he's fairly close now, and we'll just continue to push forward until Norm's back with us," Ferentz said. "We'll be better when he gets back here. We know that."
No. 15 Iowa is idle this week.
The 68-year-old Parker hasn't coached since he was hospitalized in early September. He was released last week and remains under the care of doctors.
Ferentz said is could be weeks before Parker returns to coaching but that he's turned a corner in his fight with diabetes. He said the difference in Parker's condition from last week to this week was "night and day."
"He's totally invested. He's really loved and respected by everyone here. It's going to be a good thing when we get him back," Ferentz said.
The Hawkeyes defensive staff has shared duties in Parker's absence.
Parker is in his 12th season at Iowa (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) and is considered one of sharpest defensive minds around. The Hawkeyes ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense in 2008 and 2009, and this season they've allowed just 10.2 points per game.
Despite the recent setback, Ferentz said that Parker has given no indication that he wants to retire and doctors know that.
"The whole idea is to get him back so he's here for years, not weeks," Ferentz said.
Parker has been in coaching since the mid-1960s, with previous stints at Eastern Michigan, Wake Forest, Minnesota, Illinois, East Carolina, Michigan State and Vanderbilt before joining the Hawkeyes in 1999.