Smith-Cotton assistant baseball coach Kyle Zimmerman has been selected to become the program’s head coach starting in the 2016-2017 season. Current head coach Jud Kindle will be leaving the position at the end of the current school year to become head coach for the new State Fair Community College baseball program.
“I can’t think of anyone else more deserving and anyone else that I would rather have the position,” Kindle said of Zimmerman. “I’m comfortable with him and it’s his time to take the reins.”
Zimmerman graduated from Osage High School and carried his baseball career to Crowder College where he got his associate’s degree in general studies in May 2009. He then transferred to Ouachita Baptist University where he was a two-year letterman and got his bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Zimmerman, a math teacher at Smith-Cotton Junior High, is in his third season with the Smith-Cotton Tigers baseball program, where he mainly focuses on infielders and pitchers. He also is the head coach for the JV team.
“This is a life goal for me,” Zimmerman said of the promotion to varsity head coach. “I look forward to mainly being able to have the opportunity to take on this position.”
Zimmerman’s’ role as a coach will change; instead of focusing on certain aspects of the team, he will focus on the team as a whole. His goal for the 2016-2017 season is building the best team possible. Zimmerman’s motto is “kaizen,” which originates from Japanese and means continuous improvement.
“I don’t ever want to reach a point where we aren’t getting better,” he said.
Senior Noah Aziere, a catcher on the S-C varsity team, believes the future of Smith-Cotton baseball is in good hands.
“I think Zimmy will be a great head coach because of his in depth knowledge of baseball,” Aziere said. “He knows how to develop players and help them reach potential.”
Kindle said Zimmerman fits well with the players, he understands what is expected and the players love him. Brice Pannier, a sophomore who plays outfield and first base, loves the idea of Zimmerman being head coach and believes keeping the same system will be beneficial.
Zimmerman has a good connection with the players, but admitted there will have to be “a little separation” when he becomes head coach.
“Things will change because I’m going to have to be more authoritative,” he said. “However, I hope to maintain a mutual respect from the players.”
Haily Zaremba is a student at Smith-Cotton High School