DeWitt High’s Rob Zimmerman named Detroit Lions High School Football Coach of the Year

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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 for this Coach of the Year announcement as well as interviews from past 2020 Detroit Lions Coach of the Week recipients.

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

High School Football Coach of the Week 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).

This season’s program will award $12,000 to aid in the development and promotion of high school football in the state of Michigan, thanks to contributions from the Detroit Lions and the NFL Foundation. 

Each winning coach during the regular season will receive a $1,500 donation to his school’s football program. At the conclusion of the 2020 Michigan High School Football season, the Lions will also select the High School Football Coach of the Year. This season’s Coach of the Year will receive a $3,000 donation to his school’s football program. All winners will receive a certificate signed by Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia and National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell. 

Currently in its’ 24th year, the Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week program has awarded $455,000 to high school football programs throughout the state of Michigan. For more information on the Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week program, contact Chris Fritzsching, Lions’ Director of Football Education, at [email protected].

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.