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Coaches Confessions with Brian Zimmerman

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 11:26 PM CDT
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ROCKTON, Ill. (WIFR) - I’m coming home, that’s what Brian Zimmerman said years back when he decided to coach at Hononegah, and after years of hard work, the coach sees it all paying off.

“That’s what football did for me is it made me feel confident in myself and that’s what I hope I can do for my players,” Zimmerman said.

It was not a straight-to-the-top type of journey for Hononegah’s head coach, like the game itself, Zimmerman says he had to work for what he has.

“I played freshman and was not very good probably like one of those fourth-quarter players to get me an opportunity since I’d never played before,” Zimmerman said.

That freshman season was Zimmerman’s first time on the gridiron, it just so happened to be at a high school in Rockton.

“I came in and they said what position do you want to play and I said I have no idea,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman slowly worked his way to the top of the depth chart. By his sophomore season, Zimmerman says he was hooked.

“I went out and I blocked somebody and I think he probably tripped over himself but he went backward,” Zimmerman said. “I was like holy cow I just hit that guy out of my way.”

The versatile offensive lineman ended up at Millikin University for college. It was after his playing days were done that Zimmerman realized he was not done with the sport.

“I wasn’t wanting to walk away from the game at that point, and I knew with my biology degree that you know I could do a certain amount of things,” Zimmerman said. “I decided that hey, I want to teach high school science. It’s always one of my favorites, and I’ll coach football.”

An opportunity presented itself in his hometown, Zimmerman returned to the Hononegah halls as a teacher and skills coach but he always had a bigger goal.

“Getting the head job was something that I aspired to do,” Zimmerman said. “The longer I coached I thought my real passion is really as a position coach.”

In 2015 Zimmerman stepped in as head coach for Hononegah, ever since he’s been on a run. Hononegah’s qualified for the playoffs each season under Zimmerman. He says wins and losses are important but there are far bigger things to focus on.

“These kids like I said make a commitment and the biggest thing for me is to just have them enjoy their time playing football,” Zimmerman said. “If they can use it as an opportunity to help them get to college or build confidence in themselves that is the biggest thing for me.”

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