The Sweet Home Panthers will have a new football coach this fall. The school board is expected to approve the hiring of longtime assistant Jeremy Zimmer next month. The 1992 graduate of Kenmore West has been a teacher in the Sweet Home district the past 20 years and was an assistant on John Faller’s staff during that time until Rich Lowe took over last season.
Zimmer played collegiately at Canisius College and was coached by Chuck Williams and current Cleve-Hill coach Glen Graham. “Jeremy will do a great job,” Graham said. “He’s a great teacher, knowledgeable, patient and organized. He has the respect and attention of his team.”
Lowe will remain on the staff and coach the defense while Zimmer handles the offense in addition to his other head coaching duties.
“We need to look back at where we had success in the 90’s and bring back that culture of winning,” Zimmer said. “The first thing I did was add former players Cory Mitchum and Steve Phillips to the Varsity coaching staff. They know how to play the game the right way. Both of those guys played on a State championship winning team. Having them around and teaching the kids how to prepare will be very helpful”
It’ll be 10 years since Sweet Home won its first NYSPHSAA title. Legendary head coach John Faller who guided those championship teams is someone Zimmer will continue to rely on for support. “John is a legend, he was a big influence on me.” Faller will be entering the Greater Buffalo Hall of Fame next fall.
Sweet Home finished 5-3 overall before losing in the playoffs to West Seneca West. The Panthers raced out to a quick 3-0 record before losing a tough game against Williamsville East.
Zimmer believes the strength of their team this season will be on the line. Returning lineman for the Panthers are Keith Murphy, Adam Laboy and Josh Rose all of which are three year Varsity players. Maurice Robertson will hopefully be back under center. And with a great line in front of him, he is set up to have a fantastic season.
Defensively, Rob Giancarlo is a player Zimmer is very excited about. “He’s just the hardest working kid. He’s a defensive end, very coachable and he’s a team leader. He’ll be one of our captains.” Giancarlo is also a great student who has garnered attention from Princeton, Harvard and Cornell.
They will have a very tough schedule when they begin play next season. They’ll open on the road versus WSW in week one, then play host to North Tonawanda, visit Grand Island and then face Williamsville East at home.
In week five the Panthers play at Kenmore East before finishing out the season with home games against McKinley and South Park.
Zimmer is married with two children.
Fun Fact I: Zimmer was a teammate of Cheektowaga football head coach Mike Fatta at Canisius.
Fun Fact II: Zimmer is one of four head coaches in Section VI that once played for Jerry Tutweiler at Kenmore West. Johnny Haynes (KW), Joe Kelly (Tonawanda) and Craig Dana (Orchard Park) are the other three.