Zmijanac resigns after 1 season as Ringgold football coach
For the second straight year, Ringgold will be in the market for a new football coach.
Mike Zmijanac tendered his resignation Monday, according to Ringgold athletic director Laura Grimm.
“To be honest, I was really surprised,” Grimm said. “I didn’t see it coming, not even a little bit.”
Grimm said she was in contact with Zmijanac Sunday, and she received his official letter Monday. The school board will accept the resignation at next week’s board meeting.
“It’s pretty much a formality now,” Grimm said. “Ultimately, it came down that some things that developed within his family over the last few months. I respect that; family comes first.”
When he got hired, Zmijanac was adamant about building the Ringgold program back to prominence from the ground up.
“We had everything planned out through June,” Grimm said. “We were in the process of ordering uniforms and planning fundraising. I know he was serious about coming back.”
Zmijanac’s Rams struggled this season in the first year for many on the roster.
Ringgold scored only 26 points, the lowest total in the WPIAL, playing with many first-year players and a number of players with little game experience.
“I’m a firm believer we were going to be back on track in a couple years,” Grimm said. “I thought he was the person to lead us. There’s a lot of disappointment. We’re not going to get the chance to see that come to fruition.”
Zmijanac was hired at Ringgold after coaching at Aliquippa for 21 seasons.
He finished with a career record of 237-36 with the Quips. He won six WPIAL titles and one PIAA title. Only eight coaches in WPIAL history have that many championships.
The Rams finished 0-10 in their only year under Zmijanac as their defense allowed more than 500 points.
“We’re going to miss him. I can’t fault him. Family truly does come first,” Grimm said. “I’m thankful for the contributions he made. I believe he made progress within the program.
“I think down the line he could have been successful here.”
Grimm said the hunt for Zmijanac’s replacement will begin immediately.
Jeremy Sellew is a Mon Valley Independent staff writer.