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United hoops coaches step aside

April 14, 2011
By RON FIRTH - Journal Sports Editor , Morning Journal News

HANOVERTON - United Local is looking to replace two established varsity basketball coaches.

Girls head coach Roger Zeigler and boys head coach Tim King have both resigned their positions.

"I think it's time," said Zeigler, who guided the Eagles to three straight Inter-Tri County League upper tier titles to end a 38-year career in coaching. "I've done it a lot of years. It's been a good five years at United and they've treated me well. I felt it was time to retire.

"I want to enjoy my (five) grandkids and do things I've wanted to do that I haven't been able to do."

The United girls went 87-26 in five seasons under Zeigler, including the winningest three teams in school history the past three seasons.

"It was a great run," Zeigler said. "I've enjoyed it."

King, who spent 18 years as Western Reserve's head coach and led the Blue Devils to the 1989 state semifinals, stepped down after going 5-16 in his only season at United.

"When I took the job, I had no intention of being there just one year," King said. "It is difficult to do all the things I had to do to get the job done without being there in the school."

King, who teaches at Western Reserve, said coaching in another district was a tougher task than he expected.

"Everybody was super to me at United," he said. "They gave me a lot more than I gave them. It was just a tough job not being in the building. To be in the school has a lot of advantages. You do a lot of coaching off the floor and I was not in a position to do that."

King said some of the building blocks are in place at United.

"I think with the staff we had this year, we did a pretty good job of starting the program," King said. "We did make progress. I think if they keep the staff they had there, from seventh grade up, the pieces will start falling into place."

He doesn't want to stay out of coaching for long.

"I still want to coach, but I need a better situation," King said.

Zeigler retired as a teacher from Salem in 2001 (he went 180-86 in 12 years as the Salem girls head coach including a trip to the 1994 state semifinals) and then headed to United to coach.

"I thought about it halfway through the season," Zeigler said about his resignation. "Some of the things I used to like to do I didn't like to do. It's a lot of time. It's about 11 months out of the year nowadays. That's part of the game now."

United had its best basketball season ever in the 2008-09 campaign as the Eagles went 22-2 and captured its first district title since 1980. Zeigler was named the Northeast Ohio Inland District Coach of the Year and the first of three straight Columbiana County Coach of the Year honors.

The Eagles followed with consecutive 18-5 seasons.

"The young ladies worked hard, bought into the program and wanted to win," Zeigler said. "They set the goals to do that. They deserve all the credit."

He told the team of his decision on Monday.

"I will still support them," Zeigler said. "I love them and will miss them. It's going to take a little bit for me to to get used to being in the stands."

He'll be back at United High School this weekend. He will be playing the drums at the annual jubilee concert on Friday and Saturday.

"There is life after basketball," Zeigler said. "That's what they tell me."



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