Zimmerman gets top job at UMBC Ex-Hopkins coach called 'perfect fit'

August 04, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

In a union described as a "perfect fit," Don Zimmerman will be introduced at a news conference today as UMBC's new lacrosse coach.

The hiring of the former Johns Hopkins coach ends a search that began when Dick Watts resigned June 7 after 23 years.

Zimmerman, 40, coached Johns Hopkins to a 73-15 record in seven years, took five teams to the Final Four and won the NCAA championship in 1984, '85 and '87. He left after Hopkins posted an uncustomary record of 6-5 in 1990.

"I'm excited to get the opportunity to be a head coach again," said Zimmerman, who spent the past three seasons as an assistant on Dave Cottle's Loyola staff.

Said Cottle: "I couldn't be happier. He'll do a great job. Zim and UMBC are a perfect fit."

Zimmerman is UMBC's third coach. Herb Moore was the first, for one year, 1970, and was followed by Watts, who compiled a 177-149 record. UMBC won the NCAA Division II title in 1980, but then had a stretch of nine seasons without a winning record. The Retrievers were 10-5 in 1991 and '92 and 6-8 last spring.

"I'm delighted for Donnie," Watts said. "Coaching would have lost something if he hadn't come back. If he hadn't gotten this job, I think he might have headed into the business world."

Zimmerman will spend this weekend in Rochester, N.Y., scouting New York's top high school juniors and seniors in the Empire State Games.

All summer, in the event he got the UMBC job, Zimmerman has scouted young players in leagues and camps here and in Virginia.

"I've kept up with it, so I wouldn't miss a beat," he said.

Zimmerman, a graduate of St. Paul's and Johns Hopkins, commands respect in the coaching fraternity, particularly for his offenses.

"He has one of the best offensive minds in the game," said Towson State's Carl Runk. "Hopkins was always a threat when he was there because of all the offenses he threw at you. When he was at Loyola, you could see his touch in the offense. When you work against Don, you've got to do your homework."

Zimmerman was selected by a committee led by UMBC athletic director Charlie Brown, who was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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