Coatesville’s Ziegler nears milestone

The Ches-Mont League has long been known to produce some of the very best baseball teams and players in Pennsylvania. And many good coaches have steward these programs over the years.

But coming into the 2015 season, one of the finest coaches in the state is on the verge of accomplishing something that only two coaches in the commonwealth have before. Longtime Coatesville head man Hal Ziegler is two wins from reaching 300 for his career. His record currently stands at 298-189 in 23 years at the helm of Coatesville.

Coatesville sports has a long and storied tradition of excellence, but try to pick the man or woman who embodies football, basketball or track and field or cross country. A person that stands out as the icon of that particular sport. It is very hard to do, if not impossible, because there has been so many choices that would be worthy of that honor.

In baseball, you think Coatesville and almost immediately you think of Ziegler. The man with the massive frame, and sometimes hard glare, has almost single handily put the school on the baseball map around the state.

With six Class AAAA District 1 titles, 12 PIAA appearances and a trip to the PIAA finals in 1998, Ziegler has consistently kept the Red Raiders in the discussion around the district and Pennsylvania. To be two wins shy of 300 in a state where you only play 20 regular-season games is a testament to the level of quality coaching “Zig’ has brought to the program for 23 years.

And it is also the way he and his teams have gone about their business over the years. Ziegler is a fiercely loyal family man and that has carried over to the diamond where scores of his friends and former players still come out to games or help out with the ground work to get the fields ready for play.

You have to be a very special person to inspire such loyalty. After 23 years, and at the age of 64, many men would not be able to relate to the younger players, but talk to the members of his club and they talk about him in terms of respect.

The kids know they have a teacher, friend, coach and a surrogate father, so to speak, that will do anything to advance their baseball careers or their lives off the field. The care “Zig’ has for his kids does not stop after the last out. He is constantly telling me about former players he keeps in contact with and if they need help, the big man is always there, day or night to still be in their lives.

And family is is another trait the coach has brought to the field. With Chad Ohar, Lance Ziegel, Bob Yearsly and the late Donnie Lawrence. Ziegler has promoted a sense of stability in his coaching staff. The kids know that these men are always there for them. And there have been trying moments during his time.

But, Ziegler has always carried himself and his program with class. The last thing he wants to hear is something bad about one of his kids. He talkies it personally and he carries that pride with him on and off the field.

It has been a great ride for him. But nowhere near the ride he has given to the kids who have put on the red and black.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply