“I certainly miss coaching,” Zimmerman said Monday. “I miss the game. I miss practices. Practices were your time to work with the team for five days a week, and that’s really what it’s all about. And then there’s the personal interaction with the players. So I do miss that, but I really enjoy this new chapter, and I appreciate that ESPN is willing to take me on.”
Zimmerman, 64, completed 30 years as a college head coach – seven at Johns Hopkins and 23 at UMBC. And that perspective is what he provides as an analyst.
While covering Towson’s 12-8 victory at No. 7 seed Penn State on Saturday in an NCAA Division I tournament first-round game, Zimmerman shared his thoughts from the viewpoint of a coach, expertly assessing what both teams were doing. And he wasn’t shy about disagreeing with play-by-play man Mike Corey.
Giving the viewing audience a slice of what he sees is perfect for Zimmerman, who was lauded for his ability to instruct players.
“It’s an opportunity to teach through the telecast,” he said. “I’ve always thought that one of my strengths is that of a teacher, and what better way to teach the game of lacrosse to the national viewing audience than to do color for a game?”
Zimmerman, who conceded that it is different to attend a contest and not “really care who wins,” said he has not felt the pull to return to coaching.
“I don’t know if I ever had the itch to get back to college lacrosse,” he said. “I think I had a good run, and this is something new and exciting, and this is where my focus is. I love the game of lacrosse, and I’m blessed to have been a college lacrosse coach for many, many years and all of the relationships I’ve been able to form at that time, but I’m still with the game. It’s a different assignment, a different role, but I’m still involved with the game, and that’s what I really enjoy about it.”
So does that mean that Zimmerman is closed to all inquiries to become a coach again?
“It will always be a consideration, but I’m happy where I am,” he said. “It’s been a year since I stepped down at UMBC, and I think it’s been a good year. I take it one day at a time. That coaching bug is I’m sure somewhere inside of me still, but right now, I’m enjoying being a color analyst.”