Grant Zgunda is in his 16th year as the head football coach at Delta. In that time, some of the Eagles’ middle-school coaches have been more involved with the varsity team than others.
One of the more involved coaches was Tim Millspaugh. He came to practices to help with the varsity program and was also there to help on Friday nights. It was clear to Zgunda that Millspaugh wanted to lead a high school program one day.
Zgunda looks back fondly on the time when Millspaugh assisted him, beginning in 1998 when Zgunda came to Delta. Millspaugh’s teaching and coaching career was in its infancy. Millspaugh left the staff after the 2001 season for an opportunity at Jay County. Tonight, they will square off as competing head coaches for the first time. Millspaugh is Jay County’s first-year head coach, and their teams will play at 7:30 at Delta.
To Zgunda, Millspaugh’s hard-working ways stand out as he looks back on their time working together.
“He’s a workaholic,” Zgunda said. “I don’t know if some people think that’s a bad word. (He’s) extremely thorough, very detail-oriented. So any time you have a guy like that, you think that they’re going to be successful at whatever they do. And that’s the way Tim is. I’m sure he’ll have all his I’s dotted and T’s crossed, and have those guys ready to play.”
Millspaugh also looks back fondly on his time working with Zgunda. Zgunda also served as a teaching mentor for him. Zgunda ran an alternative program at Delta early in his tenure, a position Millspaugh then inherited from him. Zgunda helped him adjust to that position.
The pair would talk frequently at school during the time they worked together. Millspaugh also served as the head wrestling coach, and the two teams shared a coach’s office. That only required them to interact more. Their conversations would often veer to football, a subject for which both were passionate. Millspaugh remembers Zgunda being forthcoming with advice.
“A lot of my philosophies, both on offense and defense, have deep roots in what Delta does and what I learned from those guys,” Millspaugh said. “A lot of the techniques that we show are very similar.”
Each coach knows that facing the other tonight will be a challenge. Millspaugh (a Delta grad) said Zgunda is particularly adept at making simple adjustments during a game that can turn out to make a big difference. And Zgunda knows Millspaugh will be very familiar with his system and the way Delta plays.
“They’ll show up and I’ll talk to those coaches and stuff, and we’ll chat for a little while and talk about some of the things that happened way back when,” Millspaugh said.
“And tell some lies, as I’m sure you can imagine. And then we’ll go right into coaching. And when the ball’s kicked off, it becomes a faceless opponent.”