Field dedicated in honor of longtime football coach
PAXTON – Jerry Zimmerman probably was looking down wondering why everybody was making such a fuss over him.
The late Paxton-Buckley-Loda football coach never liked attention drawn to himself, but Friday they could have gone on all night about the coach and man the Panther community has sorely missed since he died last November.
With his widow, Barb, his son Vic, daughter Chris and his three grandsons on hand, PBL's football field was dedicated in honor of Mr. Zimmerman before the Panthers fell 34-6 to rival Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley in the season-opening football game Friday night.
"It's simply awesome," Barb Zimmerman said of the night.
She had to fight back some tears after the capacity PBL bleacher section offered a pair of standing ovations during the 15-minute ceremony.
"I know people thought so much of him," she said. "He just meant so much to a lot of people. He was definitely one of a kind."
With fans standing against fences and lining the east end zone of Zimmerman Field, a proclamation was read by Paxton schools Superintendent Cliff McClure. A framed copy of the proclamation with a picture of Jerry Zimmerman was presented to the family.
Extended family members from as far as Iowa came to the dedication.
"Football is a game of many positions and many types of players," Vic Zimmerman said. "He tried to make everybody important and tried to treat everybody the same. He was about playing the game right and having fun."
Mr. Zimmerman taught and coached for 36 years at Paxton and then at PBL. He had an 88-38 record as a head coach and is a member of the Illinois High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.