Jason Zimmerman was named the fourth head coach in the history
of Emory men's basketball in April of 2007. In his five years
of calling the shots for the Eagles, Zimmerman has compiled
won-lost ledger of 71-54.
The 2011-12 campaign saw the Eagles hammer out an overall record of 19-6, the third-highest win total in schoool annals. It represented the program's third consecutive winning season, just the second time in the history of the program that the Eagles had strung together such a streak ( 1987-88 through 1989-90). Included in the team's overall record was an 8-6 ledger in UAA action (tied for third place) that marked the program's third consecutive season that Emory had finished with a record of .500 or better in league play, a first in school history. Since 2009-10, Zimmerman has guided the Eagles to an overall record of 54-21 with the win total the second-highest mark by the program over a three-year stretch, trailing just the 56 triumphs turned in from 1987-88 through 1989-90. Zimmerman oversaw the best start ever posted by an Emory squad as the Eagles raced out to a 12-0 record, bettering the previous start of 7-0 turned in by the 2002-03 and 2010-11 teams. Over the course of the season, Emory achieved its highest-ever national ranking when it was No. 4 in the D3hoops.com Jan. 24 poll. The Eagles continued to enjoy success at the Woodruff PE Center, outscoring the opposition by an 80.7-70.2 per-game average en route to chalking up a 10-1 slate in home contests.
Zimmerman's fifth Emory team maintained its reputation as a high-powered offensive juggernaut, leading the UAA in scoring offense with an 84.1 points-per-game average, good for the No. 17 position among all Division III programs and the No. 3 spot on Emory's seasonal list. The Eagles cracked the 90-point plateau on seven occasions including three outings of 100 or more points. The Emory mentor saw his club use the three-ball to its advantage during 2011-12, knocking down a school-record 232 triples with its 9.3 per-game average leading the UAA and standing 21st among all D-III programs. The Eagles converted 10 or more from beyond the arc in 14 contests including three outings of 13 treys. Emory topped the conference and ranked eighth nationally in turnover margin (+5.84) and averaged a league-low 11.3 turnovers per contest, the 17th-best effort in D-III on the year.
Under Zimmerman's guidance, Emory players earned their fair share of accolades in 2011-12, headlined by Austin Claunch capturing his third berth on the All-UAA First Team, making him just one of three players in school history to earn that distinction. Claunch, who closed out his career as Emory's all-time leader in assists, also landed second-team honors on region squads as chosen by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as well as D3hoops.com. Jake Davis was also afforded First Team All-UAA acclaim and was a D3hoops.com Third Team All-Region honoree. Rounding out Emory's all-league selections was Alex Greven with a second-team berth.
2010-11 proved to be a breakout year for the Eagles as Zimmerman guided the squad to an overall record of 20-5, the second-highest win total in school history and just the second 20-win campaign. Emory continued its climb up the University Athletic Association ladder, battling to an 11-3 slate which represented the second-highest amount of wins in conference action. Picked to finish fifth in the UAA preseason poll, Zimmerman saw his squad post the program's best performance since 1990 (1st) when it finished runner-up to Rochester. Emory racked up the highest total of home wins in school history, outscoring the opposition by a 90.5-77.0 per-game magin, chalking up a 13-1 performance at the Woodruff PE Center. The Eagles finished with a 7-4 effort in road/neutral games including a 4-3 performance in conference action, the most wins on enemy courts since 2000-01 (4-3). Included in those four victories was a road sweep at Washington University and the University of Chicago (Jan. 14 & 16, 2011), just the fourth time in league history that a team had posted a sweep of the "Midwest Trip." The team bolted out to a 7-0 record, just the third time in school history and first since 2002-03 that an Emory team captured its opening seven games of a season. Zimmerman saw the program earn its first-ever inclusion to the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll since it was initiated in 1999-2000 when it was ranked 24th on Dec. 5 and 23rd on Dec. 12. The Eagles ended the regular season ranked 27th among D-III squads.
Zimmerman saw his fourth Emory unit post impressive numbers en route to leading the UAA while ranking prominently on the national scene in a host of statistical categories. The 2010-11 Eagles paced the conference and concluded the regular season ranked 15th nationally in scoring average with an 83.6 per-game mark that represented the school's third-highest mark. Emory paced the league by shooting a school-record 79.0 percent (458-of-580) from the foul line, good for the No. 2 spot nationally, and turned in 13 contests of 80 percent or higher from the charity stripe. Emory knocked down a school record 219 three-point field goals in 2010-11, bettering the previous standard of 208 set by the 2009-10 squad, and topped the league while placing 15th nationally with an 8.8 three-point field goals per game average. Valuing the basketball, a trademark of Zimmerman-coached teams, was evident with the Eagles leading the UAA in the always-important category of turnover margin with their +3.28 mark ranking 42nd nationally.
A total of five players garnered 2010-11 All-UAA recognition, headlined by junior Austin Claunch's second straight first-team nod. Sophomore Alex Greven and freshman Jake Davis landed second-team acclaim with Davis also being named the league's Rookie of the Year. Senior Julien Williams and junior Alex Gulotta rounded out the group with honorable-mention recognition.
The success of 2010-11 began to manifest itself in 2009-10 as Zimmerman directed the squad to an overall record of 15-10, the Eagles' first winning campaign since 2004-05, with the victory total tying the third-highest effort in school history. Emory made a dramatic improvement in University Athletic Association play, putting together a 7-7 slate which represented the most wins in the conference since 2000-01. In addition, the Eagles, picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll, concluded the campaign by holding down third place in the league, its best showing since 2000-01. Zimmerman saw his charges come away with three UAA road wins, the most since 2000-01 (4-3), and when the Eagles topped NYU and Brandeis on those team's home courts, it marked the first time since January, 2003, that an Eagle team had notched back-to-back league road victories. Under Zimmerman's guidance, Emory chalked up a 7-2 record in the month of January, just the fifth time in school annals that it had notched seven or more wins in a month and the first time since January of 1993. Through 17 games, Emory stood 13-4 overall, the second-best effort in school history and helped the Eagles earn votes in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll in the Jan. 26 & Feb. 2 rankings, the first time since November of 2004, that the program had been recognized.
Statistically, the 2009-10 Emory unit led the UAA and ranked 18th nationally among Division III programs in three-point field goal percentage (.395), and paced all league teams while checking in at 19th on the national scene in three-point field goals per game (8.3 trp). The Eagles' 208 treys established a school seasonal mark and helped them average a league-best 76.2 points per game, good for 67th nationally. A couple of other important categories where Emory figured prominently on the national charts included free throw percentage (42nd, .738) and turnovers per game (13th, 11.5). The Eagles' free throw percentage showing was third highest in school history while the turnovers average was the lowest all-time. Zimmerman, along with assistants Chris Murphy and Ben Wright, were tabbed as the UAA Co-Coaching Staff of the Year winners.
Emory players continued to flourish under Zimmerman's tutelage with Austin Claunch landing 2009-10 All-UAA First Team honors while Daniel Curtin and Chad Hixon were honorable mention selections.
The 2008-09 season represented Zimmerman's second at the helm of the program and the team, despite finishing with a sub-.500 record, continued to demonstrate improvement while laying the foundation for future success. Emory came out on the short end of six games that were decided by six or fewer points including four UAA encounters that were decided by five or fewer points. The Eagles displayed a vast improvement on the defensive end of the floor in '08-09, surrendering an average of 14 fewer points per contest in league outings from the previous season while posting a field goal percentage defense mark of 42.5 percent, good for third place on the UAA chart, and considerably lower than the 49.5 effort from 2007-08.
Zimmerman saw a pair of his players land 2008-09 All-UAA recognition as Anthony Fernandez and Chad Hixon each garnered honorable-mention recognition.
Zimmerman's initial campaign at Emory was a challenging but yet
memorable one. With just one starter returning from the '06-07
season and a host of new faces to rely on, the Eagles ended 2007-08
with a deceptive won-lost record of 10-15. Playing the nation's
second-toughest schedule according to the Massey Ratings, Zimmerman
and his charges played a total of 11 games against six squads that
advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Without a doubt, the highlight of his first year of patrolling the Emory sideline took place on Jan. 25, 2008, when he saw his charges post a historic 81-76 overtime triumph over No. 1-ranked Rochester, the program's first-ever win over a top-ranked team.
Zimmerman's high-octane offense resulted in Emory leading the UAA and ranking 46th nationally in scoring offense with a 79.0 points per game average. In addition, the Eagles led the conference in scoring in for league contests with a 76.6 points per-game effort. As a further testament to Emory's potent and explosive offensive attack, the Eagles turned in three of the UAA's top five single-game point totals in '07-08; 106 vs. Oglethorpe (Dec. 15), 100 vs. Maryville (Dec. 8) and 99 vs. Case Western (Jan. 12).
Former Emory standout Spiros Ferderigos was a beneficiary of Zimmerman's tutelage, landing a second-team berth to the NABC All-South District Team, the first Eagle to be recognized by that organization since 1990. Ferderigos landed a first-team nod to the All-UAA Team while Anthony Fernandez brought home an honorable mention spot.
A native of Warsaw, Indiana, Zimmerman came to the Emory program having spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach at the Division I level.
Zimmerman spent seven seasons on the Davidson staff, where he worked for Bob McKillop, from 1996-97 through 2002-03. During his tenure, the Wildcats compiled an impressive 122-81 record and competed in the 1998 and 2002 NCAA Tournaments. Davidson won North Division championships in the Southern Conference in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2003, and won the Southern Conference Tournament in 1998 and 2002.
"Jason Zimmerman is the type of person that you want your son to play for," said McKillop, the 2007-08 NABC National Coach of the Year. "He is a superb coach and caring individual. He will maximize the talents of those who play for him.
"He has the ability to get on the court and show what has to be done and how to do it," McKillop continued. "Jason has the unique capacity to get players to blend and play roles. He is adept at getting players to grasp the team concept nature of the game while highlighting their individual strengths."
Zimmerman spent the 2003-04 through 2006-07 seasons as an assistant at the University of Evansville under Steve Merfeld. While with the Purple Aces, he coached Matt Webster and Clint Cuffle to All-Missouri Valley Conference honors while recruiting and coaching Jason Holsinger to the MVC 2005-06 All-Freshman Team.
"Jason is the kind of person who fits in well with the people he comes in contact with,"said Merfeld, now a member of the Creighton basketball staff. He will have a positive impact on the student-athletes he will work with.
"He is extremely talented when it comes to skill development and
he is an exceptional recruiter because of his ability to relate
well to people. He has a true passion for the game of
basketball and for coaching."
Zimmerman was a four-year letterwinner at Davidson where he concluded his career as the school's No. 18 all-time leading scorer with 1,260 points. One of the top players in the Southern Conference, he finished fourth in career free throw percentage and seventh in career assists, and was a member of Davidson's 1994 NIT team. Jason also earned Davidson's Thomas A. Sparrow Award for commitment to collegiate athletics. He graduated from Davidson in 1994 and earned his bachelor's degree in economics.
"Emory University strives for excellence in all areas and we look forward to having the basketball program reach that level of excellence," said Zimmerman upon his appointment.
"The reputation of Emory, its fine facilities, and the high
regard that the University Athletic Association is held in made the
job appealing," Zimmerman continued. "Emory is about success
and when you are around successful people, good things can
happen. My family and I are honored and excited about joining
the Emory family."
Jason and his wife, Traci, have a son, Trevor, and daughter, Taylor.