Not long after Dustin Roller resigned as Jennings County football coach this winter, former Panther coach Rick Zimmerman went to athletics director Mike Broughton and volunteered his services.
Zimmerman, who was Jennings’ head coach from 2002-08 and an assistant in 2013, was just thinking about becoming an assistant again. But then Broughton asked him if he’d be interested in another turn as head coach.
“He did a good job here, and we thought he had the qualifications to do it again,” Broughton said. “We had some outside candidates, but we thought he was qualified. He had some success here. He had some good teams here, and we thought he would be the guy that could do it.”
Zimmerman, 53, who teaches physical education at Jennings, took over the program last week. Tuesday afternoon, the Panthers found out they had moved down from Class 5A to 4A, essentially switching places with Columbus East, which moved up because of the tournament success factor.
New sectional parings will be determined no earlier than May 4 following approval of the IHSAA executive committee.
“We’re excited about (dropping to 4A),” Zimmerman said. “If we would take East’s place, we’re with a lot of schools that are pretty much like Jennings County, a lot of rural schools and some town schools. We feel like the teams that we play in our conference would prepare us for that sectional.”
Zimmerman went 17-54 in seven seasons with the Panthers before leaving to coach running backs at Hanover College for one year. Prior to coming to Jennings he served eight years as offensive coordinator/varsity assistant at Perry Meridian, following seven years at Seeger (one as assistant and six as head coach).
Players named to Supreme 15
Columbus North senior Josh Speidel, who was seriously injured in a Feb. 1 car accident, has been named to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Senior All-State Supreme 15, and Columbus East junior Parker Chitty has been selected to the Underclass Supreme 15.
North’s Kooper Glick and East’s Connor Umphress are on the Senior All-State honorable-mention list. Jennings County sophomore Tyler Vogel is an Underclass All-State honorable-mention selection.
Sheridan named Coach of the Year
Columbus North’s Jim Sheridan has been named Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association State Coach of the Year for Girls Swimming.
Sheridan led the girls to a sixth-place state finish. The Bull Frogs had earlier won Conference Indiana and sectional titles.
Sheridan had also been named Conference Indiana Coach of the Year for both boys and girls, sectional Coach of the Year for both boys and girls, ICGSA District 4 Coach of the Year and Girls Swimming State Coach of the Year by the Indiana High School Swimming Coaches Association.
Patberg named North MVP
Senior Ali Patberg, who led Columbus North to the Class 4A state title, has been named MVP of the girls basketball team.
Senior Debie Gedeon and junior Paige Littrell were co-winners of the Bull Dog Award, while senior Sheyanne Street and junior Elle Williams were co-recipients of the Most Improved Award. Senior Sydney Patberg won the Spirit Award, and Hannah Poindexter won a Senior Award.
Junior Amy Weisner won the Martha Kalb Memorial Award, which goes to a junior varsity player who displays characteristics of determination, teamwork, persistence and heart.
North girls to be honored
The North girls basketball team, along with the other girls and boys state champions, have been invited as guests to the Final Four practice sessions Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Bull Dogs also will be honored by the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. school board April 13 and the city council April 21.