Sparano, who had been the Dallas Cowboys' assistant head coach, accepted a job offer Wednesday from new Miami boss Parcells. They worked together with the Cowboys when Parcells was head coach in 2003-06.
"I've coached for a lot of people and worked for a lot of great coaches," Sparano said at a news conference. "Coach Parcells has taught me the most and prepared me the most for this job. ...
"I know Coach Parcells is here as a resource for me, and I'm going to use him as much as I can."
Sparano becomes the Dolphins' fifth head coach since 2004. Parcells was on the job for only a week before he fired Cam Cameron, who went 1-15 in his first year as an NFL head coach.
The 46-year-old Sparano became available when the Cowboys lost their playoff game to the New York Giants on Sunday. He has been the front-runner for the Dolphins job since the start of their search.
He flew in from Dallas on Tuesday evening and had dinner with a group that included Parcells and Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga. Sparano arrived at the team complex Wednesday morning accompanied by new Miami general manager Jeff Ireland. Huizenga soon joined them, and an hour later an agreement was reached.
Ireland, who spent the past seven years in player personnel with the Cowboys, first interviewed Sparano in Dallas on Jan. 5.
"When Bill and I discussed what we were looking for in a head coach, we talked about one of high character," Ireland said. "We wanted someone who understood how to develop young players, one who could instill a culture that's all about winning.
"We think we found that guy. We know we found that guy."
Parcells and Huizenga also attended the news conference but didn't talk to reporters.
Others interviewed by the Dolphins were Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. But none of them could rival Sparano's ties to Parcells and Ireland.
"I know what the people here are capable of, and I'm excited about that," Sparano said. "I'm just happy to be part of the family."
Sparano also interviewed for head jobs with the Ravens and Atlanta Falcons.
He joined Parcells in Dallas in 2003 as tight ends coach, became offensive line coach in 2005 and called plays for Parcells in 2006. He was promoted to assistant head coach last February.
FAMILY: Wife, Jeanette, and two sons, Tony and Andrew
1984-1987: New Haven offensive line coach
1988: Boston University offensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and academic liason
1989-1993: Boston University offensive coordinator
1994-1998: University of New Haven head coach
1999-2000: Cleveland Browns offensive quality control
2001: Washington Redskins tight ends coach
2002: Jacksonville Jaguars tight ends coach
2003-2008: Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach; assistant head coach
PRESENT: Miami Dolphins head coach