At Home With Super Bowl Star Willie Parker

The two-time Super Bowl Champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers gave us a tour of his North Carolina home and told us how it motivates him for the next phase of his career.
Willie Parker’s Home in Durham N.C.

Willie Parker’s Home in Durham N.C.

Retired NFL player Willie Parker shows us around his home in Durham, N.C.

Photo by: Bryan Regan

Bryan Regan

By: Patricia Staino

Willie Parker is a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers and an ESPY Award-winning athlete. Now a coaching intern at Duke University, the North Carolina native has settled into home life in a comfy community in Durham, N.C. He still resides in the first home he ever purchased, nine years ago, and he says it’s the house in which he’ll retire, no matter where his new coaching career takes him. The Super Bowl record-setting running back (he rushed 75 yards in Super Bowl XL, the longest rushing play in Super Bowl history) gave us a tour of his Durham home and explained why his house is all about motivation for the next phase of his career.

Tour Willie's North Carolina Home

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At Home With Willie Parker

An ESPY Award-winning athlete, retired NFL player Willie Parker is now a coaching intern at Duke University in his home state of North Carolina. He still resides in the first home he ever purchased, nine years ago, and he says it’s the house in which he’ll retire, no matter where his new coaching career takes him.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Inspiring Entryway

Several motivational quotes can be found throughout Willie’s home; a saying by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe adorns the entryway.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Elegant Foyer

Although shelving in the entryway displays Willie’s football cards, a picture of his niece is prominently displayed along with them, and his UNC diploma is just a glance away.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Living Room

Willie has left the walls throughout his home fairly sparse – so far. “When I have kids it will be different,” he says. “Then I’ll put stuff on my walls – I’m kind of saving the walls for them.”

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Motivational Mantel

Willie’s pro achievements, including two Super Bowl trophies and an ESPY award, are proudly on display over the mantel, but it’s Buddha’s statement about living in the present that keeps him grounded and motivated day-to-day.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Kitchen

There’s plenty of room in the kitchen for Willie and his girlfriend, Lauren, to whip up meals.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Kitchen

The home’s kitchen is full of luxurious touches, including granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and custom wood cabinets.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Dining Room

The mirror in the dining room is not just a focal point of the room, but its massive frame and floor-to-almost-ceiling reflection catch the eye from Willie’s entryway as well.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Master Bedroom

Even when he’s not sleeping, Willie likes to spend time in the bedroom, particularly sitting by the open windows to read. “The breezes remind me of being near the beach,” he says.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Master Bathroom

Granite countertops and a corner Jacuzzi tub lend a high-end feel to the master bath.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Sneaker Collection

Willie’s master bedroom closet puts even die-hard fashionistas to shame, with row upon row of pristine sneakers, including his many pairs of beloved (and unworn) Michael Jordans.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Game Room

The bottom floor of the house is Willie’s man cave, complete with a bar area, hockey table, mementos and photos from his football days, his home gym, a theater room, and the favorite hangout spot for his nieces and nephew: the ping pong table.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Career Keepsakes

Willie proudly displays mementoes from his football career in his man cave, as well as his college diploma in his office. “I guess you could say it motivates me,” he says. “When I look around, I see how far I’ve come and how far I want to go in life. I want to go so much further; I don’t want to just live off my achievements up to this point.”

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Home Theater

Willie’s theater room walls are lined with posters of his favorite movies, including Scarface, Menace II Society and Gladiator. The room is stocked with DVDs (mostly comedies) and a popcorn machine, although he admits he often stays upstairs on the couch to watch movies on TV.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Pool and Landscaping

Willie designed the pool area and landscaping in the backyard, and although he’s too busy to spend a lot of time floating in the pool, he does like to have pool parties for his neighbors.

Photo By: Bryan Regan

Why did you choose Durham, N.C., to call home?

I went to school at UNC (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and the people were great in this area. I knew that when football was over for me, I wanted to be around nice people, and I wanted to stay close to my university. Also, my whole family lives about 10 minutes from here. I have two nieces and one nephew, and I’m very close to them. I love them to death — it’s like they’re my own little kids.

How much time do you spend at home?

When you’re coaching you have to travel a lot. We had a game on New Year’s Eve [Duke played in the ACC championship game]. I’m an offensive intern, so eventually I want to be at a college running my own running backs. The sacrifice you have to make is being away from home a lot, but that’s just part of the game.

When you go off to another school, will you keep the house here?

I’m definitely going to keep this home, no matter what, because when it’s said and done, this is my home.

You grew up in Clinton, N.C. What is most memorable about that time?

I loved Clinton — the way I grew up, the way I was raised by my parents. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Clinton is a small town with a population of about 10,000, and everybody knows everybody. When I go back now, there are a lot of new families, but if I lived in Clinton, I’d know everyone; it’s one of those towns.

As a southerner, do you come in through the front door or the back door?

I come in through the garage.

Is there anything in your house that you knew you had to have, the minute you saw it?

As soon as I saw the lion picture I have over my bed, I had to have it. I love lions. My walls are pretty spare, though. When I have kids it will be different. Then I’ll put stuff on my walls — I’m kind of saving the walls for them.

But your college diploma is hanging on your office wall…

You’ve got to put stuff like that where you can see it. I got a degree from UNC, and that’s something I never take for granted. I always wanted to graduate from college, for my parents and for myself, so when I graduated I always kept hold of that diploma and said, when I get my home, I have to frame this and hang it up.

Have you actually worn all the sneakers in your closet?

Not the Jordans. I love them. I get all the Jordans that come out. I’ll wear them, sooner or later, before I die.

Do you know how many pairs you have?

No, I don’t.

Sports Memorabilia: Willie Parker’s Home in Durham N.C.

Sports Memorabilia: Willie Parker’s Home in Durham N.C.

Willie proudly displays mementos from his football career in his man cave, as well as his college diploma in his office.

Photo by: Bryan Regan

Bryan Regan

What’s special about the downstairs?

I’m not normally excited when I talk about things, but I just LOVE downstairs. I love the room displaying my achievements — all the stuff from my time with the Steelers, my first pair of Pro Bowl cleats, my second pair of Pro Bowl cleats, my Super Bowl helmets. I just framed everything. I guess you could say it motivates me. My whole home motivates, reminding me how far I’ve come. When I look around, I see how far I’ve come and how far I want to go in life. I want to go so much further; I don’t want to just live off my achievements up to this point. 

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