Ex-Notre Dame football coach will bring 'echoes of Marcus Freeman' to Sun Belt

Gerad Parker's journey from Notre Dame to Troy reveals the lasting impact of the Fighting Irish. Follow his coaching evolution in the Sun Belt.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame football fans' feelings about Gerad Parker are complex. Most considered him an up-and-coming young assistant who got the offensive coordinator job a bit too early.

Emotions for Parker towards Notre Dame football has to be a bit complex as well. He clearly loved his time in South Bend, but it can't be easy to know you're constantly on the hot seat.

As Gerad Parker steps into the head coaching role at Troy, it becomes apparent that the Fighting Irish have left an indelible mark on him. This influence manifests in various ways, as revealed in a recent interview with The Athletic's Pete Sampson.

Sampson pointed out that it's easy to see Notre Dame all over Parker's approach to being a head coach. That includes a phrase from his days in South Bend, "The truth, the work, the results,” on a notepad that has been repurposed in Troy colors and with a special T. The pad is even sitting next to a Notre Dame practice plan on his desk.

“Notre Dame made me see the world of football through a lens of it all matters. Greatness matters,” Parker told Sampson. “If you surround yourself with how it looks, I think it all matters. That’s the piece I take away from Notre Dame, the expectations of greatness.”

Former Notre Dame football coach took South Bend with him to Troy

In the Sun Belt, Parker's expectation of greatness includes winning and winning right away. 

“I always said if you leave a job like Notre Dame, you go for a place where you can win. And a place that fits you,” Parker said. “At least I knew that.”

There's a reason for Notre Dame football fans to root for Parker these days. He was and is one of us, even if he wasn't always loved when he was in South Bend. And he just happens to be the first branch of the Marcus Freeman coaching tree leading his own program.