Iowa football defensive coordinator Phil Parker is in the midst of a new contract that will pay him $1 million next summer. He's the first assistant coach in the state of Iowa to be paid seven digits, but others are scheduled to follow. Is he worth that kind of money? You bet he is, and here's why.

The Results Speak For Themselves

Phil Parker was elevated from Defensive Backs coach to Defensive Coordinator at the University of Iowa in February of 2012. In the last six seasons under his tutelage, Hawk Central reports the Iowa defense has been in the top 20 nationally in average points against.

Let's take it a step further... from 2018 through 2020, Iowa was among the nation's elite defenses. The Hawkeye D has been in the top 12 in not only scoring, but rushing defense, and total defense as well. Iowa was 5th and 6th nationally in points allowed in the last two seasons, respectively. The Hawkeyes are the only FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) program in the country that hasn't allowed more than 24 points in their last 21 games. It's no wonder that Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz often counts on the Iowa defense to hold leads late in a game, instead of taking unnecessary chances on offense. Parker's troops are almost always up to the task.

Max Allen,


South Carolina offered Parker a job with the Gamecocks in the mid-2000s. Hawk Central says Ferentz reflected, "Pretty sure Lloyd Carr (then Michigan head coach) was trying to get Phil out of here. I think he's the one who recommended him to (Lou) Holtz (then the South Carolina head coach)." Ferentz didn't get into specifics but believes there have been other suitors of Parker's services.


Longevity and loyalty go hand-in-hand. Phil Parker joined the University of Iowa coaching staff when Ferentz took over. He was named Defensive Backs coach before the 1999 season. He's now entering his 23rd season helping to school the Iowa defense.

When Does Parker Get the Seven Digit Check?

If Parker still works for Iowa at the end of June in 2022, he'll get a longevity payment of $210,000. That's a one-time payment. Add it to his base salary of $890,000, and there's your $1 million. Hawk Central reports Parker's base salary jumps from $890,000 to $1.1 million on July 1, 2022.

Other Coaches Could Soon Go Over $1 Million

According to Hawk Central, if Iowa State Offensive Coordinator Tom Manning and Defensive Coordinator Jon Heacock are still with the Cyclones on July 1, 2023, their salaries will both reach the $1 million mark.

What the Head Coaches Make

The leaders of the two biggest in-state football programs are pulling down some very large coin. Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz made $5.56 million in fiscal year 2020. Cyclones coach Matt Campbell made $2.35 during that same time period. Football Scoop says the new contract Campbell signed late last winter pays him a base salary of $4 million per season. Clearly, being a football coach is a very lucrative business. Then again, that's no surprise to anyone these days.

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