Lakeland begins search for new head football coach
Athletics - posted on 6/4/2007
Jim Zebrowski, who led a resurgence of the Lakeland College football program, has resigned after four seasons as head coach of the Muskies.
He will be named offensive coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, which has advanced to the NCAA Division III national championship game in each of the last two seasons.
Lakeland was 28-13 in Zebrowski's four seasons, 24-4 in Illini-Badger Football Conference play including a league title in 2005 to net the program its first-ever trip to the Division III Playoffs. The Muskies shared the league title in 2004 and never finished lower than second in Zebrowski's four seasons.
Zebrowski also served Lakeland as an assistant athletic director.
"Our four years at Lakeland will always be special to me because Lakeland took a chance and gave me my first head coaching opportunity. For that I will always be grateful," Zebrowski said. "I think we created a situation where the kids felt excited about playing football here and being part of Lakeland College.
"This is a bittersweet time because I'm excited about the opportunity I have at Whitewater, but it's hard to leave Lakeland and our players. This is an opportunity for me to coach quarterbacks and call the offense for one of the top Division III programs in the country. Everyone is aware of the success they have had there and it's exciting to know that I'll be part of that. It's a terrific opportunity for me and my family."
He was named 2005 Wisconsin Private College Coach of the Year, and twice was named IBFC Coach of the Year. The eight wins in 2003 and again in 2005 were the most by Lakeland since 1997 when the Muskies finished 10-0. Lakeland players earned numerous awards during his tenure, including three players that earned all-American honors, just the 13th, 14th and 15th players in Lakeland football history to earn postseason all-American status.
"I'm most proud of the fact that we produced student athletes that played the game hard but also did well in school and contributed to the community," Zebrowski said. "We had relationships with Big Brothers & Big Sisters, the Boys & Girls Club and our players read at several elementary schools in the area. Our student-athletes learned how to give back to the community and I think that helped them create a stronger bond with Lakeland.
"Our victories on the field were a by-product of that. Coaches tend to get a lot more credit than they deserve because it's the athletes who are out there winning those games."
Lakeland athletic director Jane Bouche said the search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
"Jim quickly made an impact at Lakeland both on and off the field," Bouche said. "Obviously he was a great football coach for us, but he was also an outgoing member of the Lakeland family that invested a lot of himself in the college. We wish him and his family the best."
Zebrowski came to Lakeland after three years as offensive coordinator at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. He played college football and baseball at Mount Union College, where he graduated in 1991. After coaching in the high school ranks for six years in Ohio, Zebrowski moved to the collegiate level, spending three years on the coaching staff at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
Lakeland returns a strong nucleus of players for the 2007 season, as 13 of the 19 players who earned all-IBFC award in 2006 were underclassmen.
Three returnees were named all-IBFC first team and all-region: wide receiver MacArthur White (Zion, Ill./Zion Benton), who was also named co-IBFC Receiver of the Year, defensive lineman Stephan Johnson (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) and linebacker John Wagner (Kewaunee/Kewanee). Also returning are first team all-IBFC honorees Joe Puhl (Ontonagon, Mich./Ontonagon) on the offensive line and Brad Wilk (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) at quarterback.
Share This Story Help
Lakeland offers links to several popular social bookmarking services. These links help you share stories with other people or create bookmarks for future reference. The services are free, but they require a personal account. Click for more information on social bookmarking
<< Return to News