A three-year absence from the NCAA tournament doesn’t sit well with Don Zimmerman, but the UMBC coach may not have to issue any challenges to his players. That may come from his senior class.
Fourteen of the team’s 42 players are seniors, who also are the largest class on the current roster. And those seniors have yet to get a taste of the NCAA tournament – a gap on their resumes that they’re not shy about emphasizing, according to Zimmerman.
“I think the message that they’re delivering is, ‘Hey, we haven’t had a winning season since we got on board, and we’re certainly not satisfied with that by any means. And it’s up to us to change that. We’re committed to doing that and we expect each of you to be committed to doing that as well,’” he said. “I think that’s the message.”
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The Retrievers have compiled records of 4-9 in 2010, 6-7 in 2011 and 5-8 in 2012. Zimmerman said the seniors are intent on changing that trend.
“On the field, off the field, I just think this senior class has done a great job of setting the tone,” he said. “And by setting the tone, I mean the attitude and the expectations. They’re leading the way, and we have a nice core of underclassmen who have been doing a good job of following that lead. Off the field, we expect them to go out there and work hard in practice and give us their best. I think we’ve got some talent. So I expect them to do it in practice, and if they’re in a position to do it on game day, then we want them to do it on game day as well. But it’s really about their attitude, their approach, the message they’re sending to their teammates that’s going to really be the difference in this year’s team.”