William "Bill" Zimmer Sr. passed away earlier this week and understandably has been well remembered by many around the Lockport Community. Many remember Coach Zimmer for his 34 year run as Head Football Coach at Lockport from 1960-1994 which resulted in a career record of 164-143-5 and induction into the IHSA Football Coaches Hall of Fame. Coach Zimmer also took over Lockport's new(er) wrestling program in 1960 and remained Head Coach until 1986 compiling a record of 183-214-4 winning 2 South Suburban League Championships (71,72) 4 District Titles (65,66,71,72) and 2 Sectional Titles (71,72) and was elected into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame. Under Zimmer there were 39 State Qualifiers, 13 State Placers and 2 State Champions.
I was only able to meet Coach Zimmer a few times as he had retired and moved to Florida just before I entered LTHS as a student but I was able to meet him like I said a few times and watching how people interacted with Coach Zimmer you could easily tell that he was greatly respected by all in the community and his contributions in the athletic realm were legendary. A few years ago I was able to sit down and record a conversation I had with Tom Heniff who was an assistant wrestling coach at Lockport from 1966-1972 before becoming a State Champion head coach at Richards and one of the most accomplished wrestling officials in Illinois history. Coach Heniff was hired at Lockport right out of college and remembered his time fondly.
"Zimmer and I had a great working relationship, we just got along. I don't know if we ever had an argument. I learned a lot from him on how to deal with people."
He also shared an anecdote about Coach Zimmer who is usually thought of as hardcore disciplinarian.
"The '72 team won the conference or district, I can't remember which it was and we got back to the school they threw Zimmer into the swimming pool, because he told them if they won that's what he would allow them to do."