Duke loses wide receivers coach Gerad Parker to Penn State

Gerad Parker
Gerad Parker

David Cutcliffe is looking for a new wide receivers coach for his Duke football staff.

Gerad Parker, who coached that group last season, was hired Thursday by Penn State to coach its receivers.

Penn State announced the hire in a press release.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to have the chance to join the Penn State football program,” Parker said in a statement. “I am so thankful to Coach James Franklin and the entire coaching staff. We as a family are certainly very excited to be a part of a place that has been built with such a passion for football and with such a storied history. Coach Franklin has done great things at Penn State and has high expectations of where this program can go. Personally, I feel I have been called on this Earth to coach wideouts and help grow men, what better place to do that than Penn State, a place that is high in talent and has a chance to compete for championships.”

Previously an assistant coach and the interim head coach at Purdue, Parker returns to the Big Ten after spending the last two seasons on Cutcliffe’s staff at Duke. He was a football operations assistant for offense during the 2017 season before being promoted to wide receivers coach in 2018.

With Parker coaching him, Duke senior wide receiver T.J. Rahming caught 75 passes for 811 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

Duke will be employing its third wide receivers coach in three seasons in 2019. Jeff Faris coached the group in 2017 before he was moved to tight ends in 2018.

Parker heads to Penn State as a legal situation that followed him to Durham is on the verge of concluding.

Back on Feb. 21, 2017, Parker was arrested in West Lafayette, Ind., on a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content above .08 percent. Indiana court records show a jury trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 17.

At the time of his arrest, Parker had agreed to join East Carolina’s staff as wide receivers coach. ECU subsequently didn’t hire him.

Upon hiring Parker to a position that didn’t involve on-field coaching in summer 2017, Cutcliffe said he believed Parker was worthy of another chance.

“This was an outlier,” Cutcliffe said at the time. “There are trends. There are people that have issues. He’s not one of those. I have zero concern.”

After the 2017 season, when an NCAA rule change expanded football coaching staffs by one assistant coach to 10, Cutcliffe promoted Parker to a position that allowed recruiting and on-field coaching.

Last season, Parker helped the Blue Devils to an 8-5 record that included a 56-27 win over Temple in the Independence Bowl.

He becomes the first coach to leave Cutcliffe’s staff this offseason.

“We are excited to add Gerad to our staff,” Penn State’s Franklin said in a statement. “He has a comprehensive background and knows the Big Ten. He is a terrific fit for our staff, university and community. He has a great opportunity to come in and make a significant impact both on and off the field with a very talented position group! Gerad played wide receiver in the SEC and has shown he is a great teacher of the position, as well. His wide receiver groups have been able to overachieve throughout his coaching career.”

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An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.