2010 Don Parker  Courage Award   U.W. Eau Claire (Small).jpgDon Parker grew up in Hawkeye, IA. He attended North Fayette County CommunitySchool and lettered in four sports: football, wrestling, track and baseball. He excelled in football (all conference and honorable mention all-state), wrestling (conference champ three years) and both a first and second place finish in state. After graduating in 1963, Don enrolled in the State College of Iowa (UNI) on a full scholarship for football and wrestling. He played football for two years and wrestled for four years. He won the North Central Conference meet three times and was named the MVP in 1066. He was the NCAA Div. II champ two years at #177 and placed 6th in the NCAA Div. I at #191. He wrestled in the first NCAA All-Star meet. Don received CI’s Academic/Athletic award and graduated with a BA in teaching, majoring in Physical Education.

Upon graduating fro UNI (January 1968), he took his first teaching/coaching job at Zion-Benton HS in IL. He taught Industrial Arts and was an assistant football and wrestling coach. Don went back to UNI as a wrestling graduate assistant in 1060. UNI’s wrestling team placed 2nd in the NCAA Div. II. Don graduated with an MA in Physical Education in 1970.

Don next took a teaching/coaching job in Vernonia, OR. He taught Industrial Arts and was an assistant football and head wrestling coach. In 1971, Don took a teaching/coaching job at Hillsboro, OR. He taught Industrial Arts and was an assistant coach in football and wrestling for two years.

In the fall of 1973 Don became the head wrestling coach at UpperIowaUniversity. He was also an assistant football coach and taught Physical Education. He coached 7 All-Americans in 4 years at UIU and was named the Iowa Conference Co-Coach of the Year in 1976.

In the fall of 1977, Don became the head wrestling coach at UW-Eau Claire also was an assistant football coach for 12 years. He became an Assistant Professor in the Kinesiology Department during this time and, in addition, produced 13 All-Americans, one national champ and nine Academic All-Americans.

Don served as the president of the NAIA National Coaches Association from 1986-87. He was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 2000. He was inducted into NorthHigh School’s Hall of Fame in 1986. Don was also inducted into the NCAA Div. II Hall of Fame in 2000 and then into the Iowa Glen Brand Hall of Fame in 2007.

In the fall of 1998, Don fell 12 feet from a tree stand when a seat he was sitting on let loose. He broke his neck and became an incomplete quadriplegic. He was still able to teach and coach from his wheel chair until he retired in 2009. Don still serves as an Emeriti volunteer coach at UWEC.

Don and his wife Carol live in Ear Claire. They have three grown daughters: Kristen, Lesli and Wendy and one granddaughter, Addison.