A Classroom with Goals

Published: May 30, 2003

A University that Knows How to Win

  Don Zimmerman
Men’s Lacrosse Coach Don Zimmerman was recently inducted into the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

A Classroom with Goals


Don Zimmerman is a teacher. You may know him as the head coach of the men’s lacrosse program at UMBC, but for over two decades he has taught the game to All Americans and beginners with the same basic principles.

On January 25, Zimmerman was inducted into the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the United States Lacrosse Hall of Fame. UMBC standout defenseman Gary Clipp ‘77 joined him as an inductee during the gala affair at Martin’s West in Baltimore.

“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.

Zimmerman has been associated with Baltimore lacrosse since the early 1970’s. He was a prep standout at St. Paul’s School and earned All America honors in 1976 at Johns Hopkins. After assistant coaching stints at both Princeton and North Carolina, he returned to Baltimore in 1984 as head coach of his alma mater. Zimmerman became the first lacrosse coach to win a national title in his initial season, taking Hopkins (14-0) to the top in 1984, and capturing the title again in  1985 and 1987.

In 1994, Zimmerman came to UMBC and changed the direction of the program. On May 2, 1998, UMBC shocked the lacrosse world with a 12-8 win over #1-ranked Maryland and earned its first-ever NCAA Division I championship appearance. The 1999 Retrievers proved the previous year was no fluke, as wins over Navy, North Carolina and Maryland once again landed them in the tournament.

“Our goal at UMBC has always been to get ourselves to the same level as the other top teams in the country. 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 says.

The Retriever mentor is well-known outside of Baltimore as well. He served as an assistant coach of the United States team in the 1986 World Games and as head coach for the South squad in the 2002 North-South All Star game. He has been an ambassador for international lacrosse, becoming one of the first coaches to teach the game in Japan.

“I have been fortunate to work with so many quality young men throughout my career,” Zimmerman says. “Whether All America, All World or role player, my heart holds a special place for those that have made the sacrifice and commitment demanded of them. My hope is that as these players look back, they remember me as a mentor who treated them with fairness and respect.”



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