Rob Zimmerman has elevated what was already a successful football program at DeWitt.
Terry Hessbrook has done the same at Ithaca.
That success each has had leading football programs regarded as among the best in the state has both set to join elite company.
Zimmerman and Hessbrook are among a class of 14 that will be inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame next month at the University of Michigan.
“It definitely is a humbling thing, there’s no question about that,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a great tribute to so many people that have had a hand in building the program to where it’s at. I’m getting inducted, but it’s really on the behalf of DeWitt.”
The honor is extra special to Hessbrook, who said it has been a dream come true to return home and have success leading his alma mater.
“I’d never even thought about being on the same level as those types of people that are in the hall,” Hessbrook said. “I guess what it means, to be honest with you, is I’ve been doing it a long time and I’ve been fortunate to have some very good coaches and very good players around. That’s the thing that stands out the most. I’ve had a chance to do this with some very good coaches that are special to me because they are all friends of mine.
“This is really a program achievement and a career achievement, and to do it with these guys has been special over the years.”
Zimmerman, who has a 172-56 coaching record, has guided DeWitt to 15 playoff appearances in 17 seasons since his arrival in 1999. The Panthers have streaks of 10 straight league titles and 38 consecutive conference victories and finished as the state runner-up in its division four times during Zimmerman’s tenure in charge.
Hessbrook, who took over as Ithaca’s coach in 2004, owns a 130-61 career record. He has guided the Yellowjackets to seven straight seasons with double-digit wins and five Division 6 state titles in the last six years. Ithaca had a stretch of 69 consecutive victories under Hessbrook, who said his program taking the next step was set up by a 2009 state semifinal loss to Montague.
Former Leslie coach Scott Farley, who is now at Jackson, is among the 14 individuals that will join Zimmerman and Hessbrook in the latest MHSFCA Hall of Fame class. Other inductees include Tecumseh’s Patrick Connors, Lowell’s Noel Dean, Detroit Catholic Central’s Roy Dudas, Battle Creek Harper Creek’s Ed Greenman, Detroit King’s Dale Harvel, Schoolcraft’s Terry Haas, Gobles’ David Hudson, Montague’s Chuck Hulce, Forest Hills Central’s Timothy McGree, Ispeming’s Jeff Olson and East Kentwood’s Jim Sutton.
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.