Don Zimmerman coached championship men’s lacrosse teams at Johns Hopkins University, and his arrival at UMBC in 1994 took the program to new levels of success. But as he retired from the head coaching position on July 1, Zimmerman said the relationships built inside and outside the lines – with those he worked with and coached – are what he’ll miss more than anything else.
“When I look back at my career, it has really been all about the people,” says Zimmerman. “The players, their families, my assistants. You really become a family where everybody is working together.”
Zimmerman will continue to work in the university’s Athletics department, where he will teach physical education and continue to mentoring current students and former players.
The record Zimmerman compiled is impressive. He won 237 games as a head coach at Johns Hopkins and UMBC. His Johns Hopkins teams won three national titles, and Zimmerman led the Retrievers to six NCAA tournament appearances.
The task of continuing UMBC’s tradition falls to Ryan Moran – a rising star in men’s lacrosse coaching who was offensive coordinator and assistant coach for Loyola University Maryland’s NCAA semifinal squad in 2016. Moran also spent six seasons at University of Maryland, College Park, rising to the rank of associate head coach in his final two years.
“I am truly excited and truly honored for this opportunity to lead this great program,” says Moran.
– Jeff Seidel ’85
Faisal Khan ’99, social work was studying law at the University of Baltimore 15 years ago when his passion for basketball led him down a different path. He took an assistant coaching job for the women’s team at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Khan’s journey in women’s hoops has led him to the position of associate head coach at Hofstra University. But it hasn’t been a quick and narrow path. He has worked in South Africa and Scotland, and even departed Hofstra in 2010 to make a sojourn to his father’s hometown in India, before returning to the school in 2012.
“You have to find through all of these experiences who you are as a human being,” says the peripatetic Khan. “If you are not comfortable in your own skin, and can’t find comfort in your own skin, you have problems. I am a firm believer in that.”
Khan, who was born in Libya and moved to the United States when he was 11 years old, has also worked at Shepherd University and UNC-Asheville with head coach Betsy Blose.
In his second stint at Hofstra, Khan has helped head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey guide the women’s team to its first Colonial Athletic Association title game and a bid to the women’s NIT.
Off the court, Khan leads efforts for Hofstra student-athletes to give back through work with groups including the Interfaith Nutrition Network – a Long Island-based food pantry – and Special Olympics.
– David Driver
Jen Dress, UMBC’s assistant director of student life, has extended her close working relationship with students to officiating at their weddings as alumni. She tells UMBC Magazine how it came about.
“I started creating wedded bliss a little bit by chance. I had a former student and a student-turned-staff-member from some pretty different family and religious backgrounds who said, Hey we got engaged, so can you marry us? And the internet said I could. Basically you can go online and submit your name to be able to file paperwork for folks and become an officiant. My first wedding was Sameeha Azeez Bricklemyer ’09, visual arts and Ryan Bricklemyer ’04, information systems, and M.S. ’06, information systems.
“I also officiated for Jay Lagorio ’08, computer science, and Cassie Surber Lagorio ’09, political science and psychology; Beth and Simon Reilly; and Morgan Simonds ’12, psychology, and John Privot ’12, psychology and environmental studies. I officiated for former staff member Stephanie Hemling and her husband Steven Palinkas as well. To be able to tell their stories in front of their families and friends really brings things full circle for me.
“The weddings are such a stumble down memory lane. I meet them when they are 18 and now they are headed down this path of marriage and family and all that goes with it. To see how their lives have unfolded and the UMBC friendships they have maintained speaks to the power of this place. They make friends here and sometimes meet their person here!”
– Julia Celtnieks ’13
Matt Frazier ’07, M.S., applied mathematics, ran marathons as a hobby. Eating right was a key element.
“I didn’t want to eat animals,” Frazier recalls. “But as an athlete, I was worried about getting enough calories and protein.”
Seeing a flier with graphic images of chickens being slaughtered pushed him to embrace vegetarianism. But could he keep running with the new lifestyle?
In 2009, Frazier started a blog to find some answers about being an endurance athlete on a vegetarian diet. He’s been blogging for a growing audience as the “No Meat Athlete” ever since.
“It turned out to be a good name,” says Frazier. Readers started asking for t-shirts – and for training advice. Within six months of giving up meat, Frazier accomplished his long-held goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon by shaving 10 minutes off his finishing time.
The blog has blossomed into a website stocked with training tips, recipes, and podcasts. Frazier’s first published book, No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self (co-authored by Matthew Ruscigno) has sold 25,000 copies. A vegan cookbook – with chef Stepfanie Romine – will be published next year.
Cities including London, Moscow, and Tokyo now boast “No Meat Athlete” running groups. “It makes me feel good to see that take off,” says Frazier.
Frazier says his training in applied mathematics at UMBC taught him “a logical and analytical way of thinking that has been really valuable,” especially as an entrepreneur.
“There’s no map – especially with the blog and podcasts,” he adds. “It’s a new frontier.”
– Caitlin James ’01
Check out Frazier’s site at nomeatathlete.com