InsideNDSports - Gerad Parker expected to be named Notre Dame's next tight ends coach
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Gerad Parker expected to be named Notre Dame's next tight ends coach

Gerad Parker, center, is expected to become Notre Dame's next tight ends coach.
Gerad Parker, center, is expected to become Notre Dame's next tight ends coach. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

Tight End U didn’t take long at all to attract its next position coach.

Less than 48 hours after John McNulty said goodbye to the Irish players before heading to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to take over as Boston College’s offensive coordinator, Notre Dame came to terms with 41-year-old Gerad Parker to be McNulty’s successor on Wednesday, multiple sources told Inside ND Sports.

Parker interviewed for the job Tuesday, per a source. Irish Illustrated first reported the expected hiring.

The University of Kentucky grad has a coaching history with Irish first-year head coach Marcus Freeman and most recently served as offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at West Virginia University for two seasons.

They spent four seasons together under Darrell Hazell at Purdue (2013-16), with Parker coaching tight ends for two seasons and wide receiver for two seasons there. He was the recruiting coordinator all four years for the Boilermakers.

The former Kentucky wide receiver was Purdue’s interim head coach for six games in 2016 after Hazell was fired mid-season.

What Parker brings to offensive coordinator Tommy Rees’ meeting room is another coach with coordinator experience to bounce ideas off of, a strong recruiter with the good organizational skills in that area, and an accomplished on-field teacher, though most of his positional background has been with wide receivers.

The talent Parker will inherit at Notre Dame should make the transition easier. Junior-to-be Michael Mayer was one of the best tight ends in the country last season, even if the John Mackey Award didn't name him as a finalist. Mayer caught a team-high 71 passes last season for 840 yards and seven touchdowns and set single-season program records in all three categories for tight ends.

Notre Dame will have five other scholarship tight ends on its 2022 roster beyond Mayer. Junior-to-be Kevin Bauman was limited last season by a broken fibula suffered in the season opener, but he came to the Irish ranked by Rivals as the No. 5 tight end in 2020 class.

Mitchell Evans and Cane Berrong both saw playing time as freshmen last season. Evans played in all 13 games. Berrong's season was cut short by a torn ACL after playing in three games. Incoming freshmen Eli Raridon and Holden Staes, both of whom will enroll in June, were ranked among the top eight tight ends in the 2022 class as four-star prospects.

The highlights of Parker's coaching résumé include working with wide receivers Tommy Shuler, DeAngelo Yancey and KJ Hamler at Marshall, Purdue and Penn State, respectively.

Shuler caught a school-record 110 passes in 2012 at Marshall. Yancey recorded 97 catches for 1,651 yards and 15 touchdowns in Parker's two seasons (2015-16) as wide receivers coach at Purdue.

Yancey became a fifth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 NFL Draft. Hamler caught 56 passes for 904 yards and eight touchdowns in Parker's lone season as Penn State's wide receiver coach in 2019. The Denver Broncos selected Hamler in the second round of the 2020 draft.

Parker has shown an ability to evaluate and recruit as well. He recruited tight end Brycen Hopkins as a two-star prospect out of Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth High in the 2015 class. Parker became wide receivers coach by the time Hopkins started his Purdue career, but he eventually blossomed after Parker left the Boilermakers.

Hopkins became a second-team All-American in 2019 and fourth-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 2020.

Parker recruited a pair of four-star wide receivers to Penn State in the 2020 class — Parker Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith. Parker didn't coach them at Penn State, because he left for West Virginia before the 2020 season, but both have played well in their first two seasons with the Nittany Lions.

They became the first pair of true freshman wide receivers to start in the same game for Penn State since 2014. Washington already has 100 catches for 1,309 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first two seasons at Penn State. Lambert-Smith recorded 49 receptions for 659 yards and three touchdowns the last two seasons.

All four of the four-star recruits who signed with West Virginia in the 2021 class were offensive players, with Parker in the role of offensive coordinator. Parker was the lead recruiter for four-star wide receiver Kaden Prather, who Rivals ranked as the No. 34 wide receiver in the 2021 class. Prather caught 12 passes for 175 yards in nine games as a freshman.

Parker joins new — but yet-to-be-announced — running backs coach Deland McCullough, new wide receivers coach Chansi Stuckey and new/returning offensive line coach Harry Hiestand with offensive coordinator/QBs coach Rees as the lone holdover from the Brian Kelly Era on the offensive side of the ball.

Freeman has also added a new special teams coordinator — Brian Mason — and a new defensive line coach — Al Washington. Defensive coordinator/linebackers is the lone remaining opening with Cincinnati Bengals linebackers coach Al Golden the leading candidate to land that job.

Cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens and safeties coach Chris O’Leary are the two defensive coaching holdovers from last season.

GERAD PARKER BIO

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Born: Jan. 4, 1981

Hometown: Huntington, W. Va.

High School: Louisa (Ky.) Lawrence County High School

College: Kentucky (Business Management 2003, Master’s in Education 2005)

Family: Wife, Kandi; Daughters: Kolbi, Gwyneth and Rosalyn; Son, Oliver.

PLAYING EXPERIENCE

2000–2004: Kentucky (Wide receiver)

COACHING EXPERIENCE

Year: Team - Position

2005-06: Raceland (Ky.) High School - Wide Receivers/Defensive Backs

2007: Kentucky - Graduate Assistant

2008: UT Martin - Running Backs

2009-10: UT Martin - Wide Receivers/Passing Game Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator

2011-12: Marshall - Wide Receivers

2013-14: Purdue - Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator

2015-16: Purdue - Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator

2016: Purdue - Interim Head Coach

2017: Cincinnati - Running Backs

2017: Duke - Football Operations Assistant (Offense)

2018: Duke - Wide Receivers

2019: Penn State - Wide Receivers/Passing Game Coordinator

2020-21: West Virginia - Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers

2022: Notre Dame - Tight Ends

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