The Gerad Parker Era at Troy University officially begins
Published 3:11 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2023
New Troy University head football coach Gerad Parker was introduced to fans and media at a press conference on Tuesday, Dec. 19.
Parker comes to Troy after serving the last two years at Notre Dame, first as tight ends coach and then as offensive coordinator.
Parker, a Louisa, Ky., native, played wide receiver at Kentucky. During his senior season, he caught 15 passes for 168 yards. After his football career ended, Parker began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Raceland-Worthington High School in Kentucky. He then went on to become a graduate assistant at Kentucky 2007.
In 2008, he became running backs coach at UT-Martin before becoming the pass game and run game coordinator there in 2010. He coached the wide receivers at Marshall from 2011 through 2012 and then became recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach at Purdue in 2013. He also coached the wide receivers at Purdue from 2014 through 2016.
In 2016, Parker was named interim head coach at Purdue for the final six games of the season. He served as offensive operations assistant at Duke in 2017 and then became Duke’s receivers coach, under David Cutcliffe in 2018.
In 2019, Parker served as receivers coach and pass game coordinator at Purdue and then joined Neal Brown’s staff at West Virginia in 2020 as wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator. He served as offensive coordinator at West Virginia from 2020 through 2021. Parker’s 2020 offense at WVU was one of the most improved offense’s in the country.
Parker said that while he had never been on the staff at Troy, he already knew plenty about the program.
“Everyone has sort of talked about how I’m not from Alabama or Troy but I knew a lot about the job and about Troy,” Parker said. “I had been here and seen this place and the facilities four or five times in the past. I knew a lot about the place and both Neal (Brown) and Jon (Sumrall) spoke very highly of this place. Especially Neal, when I first got to West Virginia, he spoke very highly of this place and how it treated him. When I realized I had a chance to come here, I felt like it was a no-brainier to go after this job.”
Troy Athletic Director Brent Jones whittled down a list of 50 potential candidates to just 25 and then eventually the final 10 for in-person interviews, with Parker landing the job ultimately.
Parker coached for Brown at West Virginia and played college football at Kentucky with both he and Jon Sumrall. Both gave ringing endorsements of Parker.
“I’ve known Gerad Parker since our playing days at Kentucky, and he has always been a person of high character,” Sumrall said. “Gerad is a strong leader with tremendous work ethic, and I know he will work tirelessly to build Troy Football to its absolute best.
“The Troy community will embrace and welcome Gerad, Kandi and their kids, and the Parker Family will engage the community in a way that will leave a lasting impact. Gerad is the perfect fit for Troy Football, and I’m excited to watch him take that program to new heights.”
Brown echoed Sumrall’s feelings.
“I am excited for Gerad and his family, and I am excited for Troy Football and its amazing fans,” Brown said. “He coaches with passion, is very detailed in his approach, cares tremendously for his players and has great energy. I have no doubt that he will build on the storied tradition of Troy Football.”
Parker said he was able to lean on both Sumrall and Brown’s experiences at Troy during the interview process.
“I have absolutely spoken to both of them several times and I think that is a huge compliment to who they are,” Parker said. “I worked for Neal and have been a part of him giving me a chance – and now he’s a mentor – and Jon is a good friend of mine. There have been several conversations with them and it’s a really good resource to have to be able to sort of have a cheat code to bounce things off of in the future, I think that’s going to be huge for me.”
Parker said that his first goal at Troy is to lock down commitments for Wednesday’s early signing day in college football but he also met with his new football team for the first time on Monday.
“This football team is very proud of what they have accomplished – as they should be – and have very strong feelings for the current staff,” he said. “They know there are changes happening and I wanted to be able to empathize with what they’re going through. I’m not going to get instant trust by just walking into the room and saying, ‘I’m Gerad Parker, the new coach here.’ It has to be earned and I know that and I hope that let them know who I am and that I’m going to earn their trust.”
Parker said that he is going to get to work quickly on forming his staff and hopes to have it in place before the New Year.
“That will involve some retention – some guys we need to keep here at Troy that know this place well – and some guys I need to bring to be involved with what I know and believe the culture is,” said Parker. “We have to blend that staff together and there will be a blend (of current Troy coaches and news coaches).”
Parker said that he knows what expectations Troy fans have for the program and he embraces that.
“I know this place has high expectations and I want (the fans) to continue to keep that passion and expect greatness but also let us build this roster and continue to work at it and be patient as we do that,” he emphasized. “We have a lot of work to do to build this roster back up to continue to meet those expectations but we expect them to have the same results on the football field. We’ll meet those standards.”
Parker already has goals set in place for his Trojans.
“I think any time you talk about goals it starts with winning but that’s the expectation of this place,” he continued. “At our core, I hope we can develop our players on and off the field and I think that matters. I wan to help our guys graduate and help them have bright futures and of course we want to win at a high level.
“I think for me, the biggest thing I want to do is simply get in the world of service here, give a clear indication of what the direction of this program is and hold people accountable to that and see how great we can be.”