Don Zimmerman is in his 11th season as head coach at UMBC. The Retrievers finished 7-6 last year are the preseason favorites to win the America East conference.
Baltimore:: You are picked to win your league this year. Is the program turning a corner?
Don Zimmerman: It's flattering to have that early-season coverage, but it's just preseason and you still have to go out and do it. I think our boys are poised and ready to go out and compete in the America East. There are some quality teams we'll have to face and it's going to be very challenging. I don't know if we've turned the corner. If you ask me at the end of the year, I'll have a better response.
Baltimoresun.com: Who are going to be some of your scoring threats this year?
Don Zimmerman: We have a pretty good tandem on attack with Brendan Mundorf (Mount St. Joseph) and Andy Gallagher. Andy was off to great start last year before he tore ACL and Brendan had a good season as a freshman. We've got some good midfielders. One of our seniors, Frank Berry (Mount Hebron), is coming off a good junior year. Those three and some others, hopefully, are going to give us some good scoring on the offensive end of the field.
Baltimoresun.com: What have you learned about your team during preseason?
Don Zimmerman: I think we looked good against Princeton in a scrimmage, but they hadn't been out more than three or four days. I was somewhat disappointed in our play against Villanova. Even though we lost a scrimmage at Hopkins, I saw our kids get back to the level of intensity and focus we're going to need to be successful.
Baltimore: Last year, your defense under first-year coach Brandon Testa really seemed to jell and play great team defense. What has having Coach Testa on your staff meant to the UMBC program?
Don Zimmerman: I thought last year defensively we were a much improved ballclub. Again, he's another young coach who can relate well to the players and knows the game from a defensive standpoint. This year he's even taken it to a different level. We're firm believers in the fundamentals and the little things that make a big difference.
Brian, Fremont, Calif.: Could you please talk about Bobby Benson and how he got involved in your program and what his strengths and duties will be for UMBC?
Don Zimmerman: He's our offensive coordinator and our attack position coach as well. He's an outstanding recruiter. For a guy just out of school, he's proven already to be a tremendous young coach. I approached him in mid- to late June. He came on board right at the perfect time as far as I was concerned.
Michael, Reisterstown: Would the NCAA coaching community support standardizing crosse head widths and limiting the degree of offset?
Don Zimmerman: That's always an issue. I think the bottom line is the equipment manufacturers want to come out with new products that will appeal to the players. I think the NCAA's concern, and I'm not on the committee, but being on the committee in the past, I think the concern is that no matter what comes out you have to stick with what's good for the game. We don't want to get into a situation where the modern technology is taking something away from the game. I would say it's a lot like golf where they have put restrictions on certain clubs.
Terence, Darlington: Do you recruit any public school players from Harford County? We have a few excellent players at North Harford High School that only lost one varsity game last year.
Don Zimmerman: Harford County has always had good programs like C.M. Wright and Fallston. We've been successful there with kids out of North Harford, Fallston and C.M. Wright.
Retcoach, Baltimore: Why don't all the Maryland schools play each other in a spring or fall tournament?
Don Zimmerman:I think that if could happen, it woudl be in the fall. But, I think the problem is that some coaches tend to not want to play teams in the fall that they are going to see in the spring.