May 23, 2013

Leaving Lake Erie: Zimmermann Stepping Down as AD

PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Lake Erie College announced Thursday. May 23, that Director of Athletics Griz Zimmermann is resigning his position to become the athletic director at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas.

A nearly 30-year veteran of intercollegiate athletics, Zimmermann had been at LEC since May 2007. He will begin his new duties at TAMIU July 8.

"I'm excited about this new opportunity but at the same time I know I'm leaving behind great people at Lake Erie College," Zimmermann said. "I had the opportunity to work with amazing students, coaches and staff within our Department. Together, we accomplished many things and implemented several positive initiatives to enhance the experience for our student-athletes, fans, alumni and supporters during my time at LEC and I'm very proud of everything we achieved there. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have served as the Director of Athletics at Lake Erie and I'll always be a Storm fan.”

Most notably during his tenure, he guided Lake Erie’s lengthy and complex transition to NCAA Division II as well as its infancy of membership in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division II Lacrosse League. Student-Athlete enrollment has increased from the mid-100’s to over 500, and over a million dollars was fundraised for athletics operational needs during his time in Painesville. 

Athletically, Lake Erie has garnered over 150 all-conference honors and seven individual league championships since moving to the GLIAC along with more than 36 national championship qualifiers and 21 All-Americans.  In 2012 the Storm had its first NCAA Division II national champion and the previous year saw a student-athlete drafted in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The success continued in 2013 when three Storm teams posted top-20 national finishes and Lake Erie currently ranks 83rd in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Division II standings. Plus, almost 300 student-athletes have received Academic All-GLIAC accolades in just the first three years in the league alone.  

"Griz has provided quality leadership and moved our athletics program in new and positive directions. We are very appreciative for all of the accomplishments we have seen in our department during his tenure,” said Lake Erie President Michael T. Victor. “His leadership resulted in significant achievement on and off the fields of play by our student-athletes and increased regional and national visibility for our athletic programs and university. He brought a wealth of knowledge, hard work and talent to the job, and we deeply appreciate his work."

Additionally, Zimmermann currently serves on the Division II Athletic Directors Association Football Task Force and was previously a member of the NCAA Regional Championship Selection committee.

Prior to coming to LEC, Zimmermann was the AD at Gannon University and Saginaw Valley State University.  Joining the TAMIU staff means a return to the Lone Star State where he spent over a dozen years at Southern Methodist University, three years as strength and conditioning coach and nine years as an Assistant AD. He also directed the Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center in Dallas for two years.

Zimmermann will remain at Lake Erie through June. 

Plans to select Zimmermann's successor will be announced in the near future.

-LEC-