Detroit, MI—The Detroit Lions have named Rob Zimmerman of DeWitt High School the 2020 Detroit Lions High School Football Coach of the Year. Zimmerman’s Panthers defeated the defending state champion River Rouge Panthers 40-30 to win the Michigan High School Football Division 3 state championship. This is DeWitt’s first football state championship and Zimmerman’s first as a head coach. The Panthers, from the Capital Area Activities Conference-Blue Division, finished the season undefeated at 12-0 outscoring their opponents 496-80.
Zimmerman concluded his 30th season coaching high school football, his 25th season overall as a head coach and 22nd as head coach at DeWitt. During his time at DeWitt, Zimmerman has gone 222-45 (83.1%) with 5 state finals appearances, 12 state semi-final appearances, 12 regional titles, 14 district titles and 18 conference titles in addition to reaching the playoffs in 20 of 22 seasons. Zimmerman, a 2016 inductee into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, was a Detroit Lions High School Football Coach of the Week in week 7 of the 2004 season. Lions Head Football Coach Dan Campbell called Zimmerman to inform him of his High School Football Coach of the Year selection on Head Coach Hangout. See his reaction and the entire interview by visiting www.DetroitLions.com/hangout for this Coach of the Year announcement as well as interviews from past 2020 Detroit Lions Coach of the Week recipients.
High School Football Coach of the Week/Year Program
Each week throughout the 2020 high school football regular season, one coach that best demonstrates success on and off the field, develops players’ character, discipline, and football skill in addition to emphasizing player health and safety in their program, will be recognized for his commitment to the team, school, and community. The winner is selected by a panel of high school football media members—Mick McCabe (Detroit Free Press), Hugh Bernreuter (Saginaw News), Bret Bakita (WOOD Radio-106.9 FM, ESPN 96.1 FM-Fox 17/Grand Rapids), James Cook (Traverse City Record-Eagle) and Scott DeCamp (MLive-Muskegon Chronicle). Zimmerman was selected as Coach of the Year by the votes of the aforementioned media members, as well as one vote from the public online voting at DetroitLions.com/coachoftheyear.
Each Lions High School Football Coach of the Week during the regular season received a $1,500 donation to his school’s football program. For being named the 2020 Detroit Lions High School Football Coach of the Year, Zimmerman will receive a $3,000 donation to his school’s football program and will be honored as the Detroit Lions nominee for the Don Shula NFL High School Football Coach of the Year. Concluding its’ 24th year, this season’s Detroit Lions High School Football Coach of the Week/Year program awarded $12,000 to aid in the development and promotion of high school football in the state of Michigan, while overall the program has awarded $467,000 to high school football programs throughout the state of Michigan.
All-Time Coach of the Year recipients:
1997–John Herrington, Farmington Hills Harrison, 1998–Thomas Mach, Detroit Catholic Central, 1999–Don Durrett, Saginaw, 2000–Herb Brogan, Jackson Lumen Christi, 2001–John Schwartz, Mendon, 2002–Mike Boyd, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, 2003–Scot Shaw, Three Rivers, 2004–Noel Dean, Lowell, 2005–Jack Pratt, Flint Powers, 2006–Tony Annese, Muskegon, 2007–Jim Reynolds, Detroit King, 2008–Peter Stuursma. East Grand Rapids, 2009–Rich Hulkow, Marshall, 2010–Chris Bell, Lake Orion, 2011–Thomas Wilcher, Detroit Cass Tech, 2012–Terry Hessbrook, Ithaca, 2013–Kurt Richardson, Clarkston, 2014–Dan Rohn, Grand Rapids West Catholic, 2015–John Shillito, Zeeland West, 2016–Elliot Uzelac, Benton Harbor, 2017–Mike Giannone, Warren De La Salle, 2018–Rick Bailey, Reading, 2019–Jim Ahern, Lansing Catholic, 2020–Rob Zimmerman, DeWitt