EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Former UW-Eau Claire wrestling head coach Don Parker has been selected to the NWCA Division III Wrestling Coaches' Association 2014 Hall of Fame and will be inducted on Thursday, March 13 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa prior to the NCAA Division III Championship.
During his career with the Blugolds, which spanned 32 years (1977-2009), Parker coached one national champion, 13 All-Americans and 15 conference champions. He was forced to coach his final 11 seasons from a wheelchair when a fall from a tree stand after his seat collapsed left him an incomplete quadriplegic.
Parker was also an assistant Blugold football coach for 12 seasons and an instructor in the Department of Kinesiology.
A native of Hawkeye, Iowa and a four-sport letterman at North Fayette County Community School, Parker was a state wrestling champion in high school and then went on to win two NCAA Division II titles at State College of Iowa, now known as the University of Northern Iowa. As a Division II national champion, he qualified for the NCAA Division I tournament where he placed sixth at 191 pounds in 1967. A three-time North Central Conference champion and conference MVP in 1966, he wrestled in the first NCAA All-Star meet.
Before arriving in Eau Claire, Parker spent four years as the head coach at Upper Iowa University following stints at Zion-Benton High School in Illinois, Vernonia High School in Oregon and Hillsboro High School in Oregon.
Parker served as president of the NAIA national coaches association in 1986-87.He was named NAIA District 14 Coach of the Year in 1987 and WIAC Coach of the Year in 2000. He was inducted into the North High School Hall of Fame in 1986, the NCAA Division II Hall of Fame in 2000, the Iowa Glen Brand Hall of Fame in 2007, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame-Wisconsin Chapter in 2010 and the UW-Eau Claire Hall of Fame in 2013. He was also a member of the 1964 Northern Iowa football team that was inducted into the Panthers' Hall of Fame.
Don and his wife Carol still live in Eau Claire and have three grown daughters: Kristen, Lesli and Wendy, and four grandchildren.