Bill Zimmerman Spirit Scholarship Award honors legendary Harriton wrestling coach

A new scholarship has been established and funded by a group of Harriton High School wrestlers who were coached by Bill Zimmerman (affectionately known as Coach Z). His legacy will be honored for many years to come by awarding a scholarship to the individual who best exemplifies his character and spirit. While the scholarship ideally will be awarded to a Harriton wrestler, recipients must qualify under the financial need terms and conditions as outlined in the Lower Merion Township Scholarship Fund (LMTSF). If no wrestler applies and qualifies under the terms of the LMTSF, the recipient shall be the Harriton student who meets such conditions and who best exemplifies the “spirit” of Coach Z as described below.

Coach Z was a teacher at Harriton High School for close to 40 years and was the Wrestling coach from 1961 until his retirement in 1994. With a record of 336 wins, 122 losses and 2 ties, Coach Z was one of the “winningest” wrestling coaches in Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) history, and has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association (PWCA) Hall of Fame. During his tenure, the Harriton wrestling team had numerous team championships, as well as many individual wrestlers who went on to win Sectional, District and Regional championships! At one point between 1971 and 1974 his wrestling team amassed a string of 51 consecutive victories!
In the words of Geoff O’Donnell, Co-captain of the undefeated wrestling team of 1973: “It was in that wrestling room under Coach Zimmerman where we learned about hard work, desire to win, overcoming limits, and the triumph of high achievement!”

In addition to his successful reign as wrestling coach, Coach Z also had an undefeated tenure as Girl’s Tennis coach at Harriton, where his teams went an astonishing 110-0 from 1970 to 1980!
Coach Z dedicated his professional life to teaching and coaching others; therefore, we are honored to present this scholarship in his name to the student who best exemplifies that spirit! While those that reflect on his legacy might summarize those attributes as Preparation, Dedication, Passion and Perseverance, it might be best to consider some of his motivational banners that hung in the wrestling room during his tenure to more completely understand what drove the man that so many admired and what he was determined to drill into those he taught:

Coach Z’s Rules for Success!

  1. Go with what you got… but most of all SHOW UP and be prepared! Preparation, and determination, will overpower any opponent!
  2. Use maximum effort! Putting forth maximum effort with determination and persistence will help you beat any opponent!
  3. Use Common Sense, but have courage and conviction! Courage stands before everything, there is NO substitute for courage!
  4. Have a fighting spirit and a winning attitude!
  5. Persistence means you NEVER, EVER give up!

The LMTSF Board of Governors is immensely grateful to the team of donors led by Mike Gretz who established this special award in honor of Coach Z. Many students will benefit from his spirit and legacy as they pursue their own goals beyond high school.

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