In the spring of 2008, head men’s lacrosse coach Don Zimmerman signed a six-year contract extension to remain at UMBC through the 2013-14 season.
Zimmerman, 57, piloted UMBC to four consecutive NCAA Division I tournament appearances from 2006-09, a feat accomplished for the first time in the school’s 28-year Division I lacrosse history. In 2009, the Retrievers posted a 12-4 record and won their third America East title in four years.The previous season, UMBC set a new school record with 11 straight wins before a tough 10-9 loss at second-seeded
Coach Zimmerman was named America East Conference Coach of the Year by his colleagues in both 2008 and 2009. The Retriever mentor was the 2008 Coach of the Year in LaxPower men's lacrosse Fan Awards.
“My family and I are extremely happy that I will continue as head men’s lacrosse coach at UMBC,” Coach Zimmerman said at the time of the contact extension. “We appreciate all the support that [Director of Athletics] Dr. Brown and [UMBC] President [Dr. Freeman] Hrabowski have shown over the past 15 years.
“We have all worked so hard to have achieved our recent success and I am confident we can continue that down the road. But even more important than those records are the great kids we have in this program.”
UMBC Athletics recently completed a five million-dollar stadium locker room complex. Amongst its many amenities, it is the first building on campus to be completely outfitted with fiber-optic cable. In the spring of 2005, the stadium field was outfitted with Sportexe’s Momentum turf, the same product used at M&T Bank Stadium in
“We’ve been doing the right things over the course of the years,” Zimmerman said. “I’ve been blessed to have good assistants come in and contribute to that. You just have to keep plugging away and have the support from the university. Everything that is necessary to build a program we’ve had at UMBC and that is why we have seen the steady growth and improvement.”
It is hard to believe, but Don Zimmerman will enter his 25th season as a collegiate head lacrosse coach. Widely recognized as one of this nation’s premier teachers of the sport of lacrosse, Zimmerman traveled to
“The game of lacrosse is the best game out there and I would love to see it played in the Olympics,” said Zimmerman. “It’s incumbent upon us to introduce and develop the game when opportunities occur in order to reach that goal.”
For over two decades he has taught the game to All-Americans and beginners alike with the same basic principles. On Jan. 25, 2002, Zimmerman was honored with induction into the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the United States Lacrosse Hall of Fame. UMBC standout defenseman Gary Clipp ('77) joined him as an inductee in a gala affair at Martin's West in
"My coaching philosophy has always focused on teaching the fundamentals - the little things that make the big difference. Lacrosse is a game of skill and precision, best played when using a simple, basic approach," said Zimmerman.
In the spring of 1993, UMBC changed the complexion of its lacrosse program by appointing Don Zimmerman as its head coach. Success did not happen overnight. After a 7-7 campaign in 1994, UMBC struggled to records of 4-9 and 3-9 the next two seasons. But even then, the program was changing. A position was created for a full-time assistant coach in 1996, and UMBC recruited a trio of players from The Boys’
In 1997, UMBC was the most improved team (record-wise) in the country, finishing at 9-3 and posting its highest final season USILA ranking of No. 16. The 1998 season opened with tough losses to Navy and Towson, but a now more experienced team rebounded by winning eight of the next 10 games, including a victory over No. 9 Georgetown. Then, on May 2, 1998, UMBC shocked everyone in the lacrosse world except themselves when they scored a 12-8 victory over No. 1 Maryland. The victory propelled UMBC into its first ever NCAA Division I Championship appearance and made the hard work of Zimmerman and his staff worth the wait.
The 1999 Retrievers proved the previous year was no fluke, as wins over Navy,
“Our goal has always been to get ourselves to the same level as the other top teams in the country,” Zimmerman said. What we’re doing in lacrosse runs parallel to what we’re doing as a university. We feel we have an outstanding product at UMBC and we want people to know that.”
Zimmerman’s entire playing and coaching career has been based on winning. He was the first lacrosse coach to win a national title in his initial season, taking Johns Hopkins (14-0) to the top in 1984. He coached the Blue Jays to another pair of championships in 1985 and 1987 and chalked up 73 wins against only 15 losses in his seven years at
Zimmerman prepped at
After spending a year as assistant coach at Princeton in 1978, he joined Willie Scroggs’ staff at
"Coaching lacrosse at UMBC is both challenging and rewarding,” Zimmerman said. “Having the opportunity to work with quality young men with a unified goal of competing for a national championship and playing lacrosse in
“Don Zimmerman has created a wonderful men’s lacrosse program at UMBC,” Director of Athletics Dr. Brown said. “I believe that with his new six-year contract, we will be able to achieve great results in the future. He is the consummate professional and a superb teacher of the game to our student-athletes. Coach Zimmerman does all that we can ask of him and we have the resources in place for a continued high level of success.”
"Don Zimmerman is one of the nation's top collegiate lacrosse coaches,” Dr. Hrabowski said. “He is a gifted teacher and mentor, and we are delighted he will remain at UMBC, keeping our lacrosse program nationally competitive."
Zimmerman also served as an assistant coach of the