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BERNIE PARMALEE: Parmalee’s playing career influences style

Mike Gilloon | Friday, April 22, 2005

Bernie Parmalee earned a spot on the Miami Dolphins roster in 1992 as an undrafted running back out of Ball State. Nine years later he retired with 1,959 rushing yards and 1,306 receiving yards under his belt. So when the Notre Dame tight ends coach talks to his players, they can’t help but listen.

“His experience helps us so much because he knows what we’re going through as players,” Irish tight end John Carlson said. “He doesn’t see things just as a coach but he sees things through a player’s perspective.”

Finishing his professional playing days in 2001, Parmalee spent the next three years as an assistant coach with the Dolphins. He served as assistant special teams coach in 2002 and 2003 then moved up to tight ends coach in 2004 before being hired by Notre Dame.

During his time with Miami, Parmalee worked alongside current Irish defensive backs coach Bill Lewis. He also played under Notre Dame defensive coordinator Rick Minter when Minter held the same position while Parmalee played at Ball State.

Parmalee is pleased to make the move to college football with a couple recognizable faces.

“It’s always good to have guys you’re familiar with,” Parmalee said.

But he is quick to point out that Irish players will not listen to him and his fellow coaches only because of their professional credentials.

“A guy is going to respect you if you know what you’re talking about,” Parmalee said. “It doesn’t matter if I came from the pros or not. They’re just going to look at if you’re a credible person and if they’re going to believe what you’re saying.”

As he embarks on his first season around college football since he left Ball State as the school’s all-time leading rusher in 1990, Parmalee noted the main difference he sees between the college and pro games.

“[The biggest difference is] time constraints,” he said. “In the pros you can be with the guys every day for long periods of time. You have lots of ‘hands on’ time. But in college you have the 20-hour rule and you have to meet all the guidelines.”

Despite the restrictions placed on his time, Parmalee is thankful for the opportunity to coach at a college like Notre Dame.

“It’s a great school,” he said. “It’s rich in tradition, everyone knows about it and it’s a great opportunity to be a part of something special.”