“The best part about being the head coach is the opportunity to set the goals and objectives for the program,” Ziegler stated.
He said being the assistant coach from 2009-2014 had its advantages and disadvantages.
“I was the assistant coach for five years after having been the head coach for 27 years. The best part was working a few less hours each week. The worst part was not being able to be as vocal in the games,” Ziegler said.
Ziegler has had a great amount of coaching experience.
“I have been coaching basketball for 36 years. I started coaching to make the big bucks,” he joked. “I did it because I enjoy the competition and working with players to help them be successful.”
The amount of time Ziegler has to put into being the head coach is the most difficult part about basketball season for him.
“The toughest part is the hours it takes preparing for games and sacrificing your time away from family and friends,” he commented.
Ziegler looks up to other coaches to inspire him in his coaching career.
“I have always looked up to many coaches who have mentored me in my coaching career, especially CJ Hamilton and Ken Darting. I have also studied John Wooden and follow his philosophy. Not only was he a consistent winning coach, he did it the right way with integrity and his values having a higher priority than winning,” Ziegler explained.
When it comes to game time, Ziegler motivates the players by reminding them of the tradition of Silver Lake High School.
“Because of our reputation and tradition, I stress to our players that every game has to be a bigger game for us than it is for them. We should get every opponent’s best shot, so we have to be ready to play at a high level to be successful,” he explained.
Throughout his coaching career he has made many memories.
“(The most memorable season) I think it was, believe it or not, when we had a losing season early in my career. I chose this year because I felt the players kept working hard for me, kept improving, and didn’t let their record cause them to give up. I thought at that time if I could get the players to do this in a tough season, I could surely do it when we were having a winning season,” Ziegler said.
Junior High Math Teacher Shelley Lane shared her best memories of Ziegler.
“My best memories with Coach Ziegler start after winning substate my senior year. To let us know how much he believed in us, he brought T-shirts into the locker room he had printed ahead of time for us to wear during the week to follow. The trip to Hutch and the state championship are by far unforgettable memories made with Coach Ziegler,” Lane shared.
Lane said Ziegler displays many characteristics as a coach.
“Coach Ziegler never asked us to do something as a coach he didn’t either do with us or hadn’t done himself as a player. Zig made sure we were prepared and had a game plan going into each and every game. We always knew when things were getting intense because Zig would take off his suit coat and literally throw it. Maybe on the floor, maybe behind the bench, who knows?” she explained.
She said there are many coaching qualities that Ziegler brings to the court.
“My favorite qualities about Zig are endless. I always said if I were to coach at a higher level I would use all the things I learned from Zig. Coach Ziegler is dedicated not only to his players, but to teaching the game. He is a motivator; every year he would start the season with a list of goals and celebrate with us as we accomplished them - very goal-oriented.
“Coach Zig is also disciplined. I can say that I still see these qualities in Coach Ziegler today as he helps my own daughters become better basketball players. I used to beg him to not let Carney’s senior year be his last year so both of my girls would have the same opportunities I had and so far so good. My fingers are crossed for two more good years,” Lane said.
With Ziegler’s coaching, the Lady Eagles strengths this year outweigh their weaknesses.
“Our biggest strengths are our quickness, balanced scoring, our depth, and our tough, competitive spirit. Our weaknesses are being able to match up height-wise against taller opponents and being able to rebound against taller teams,” Ziegler stated.
He said the varsity squad will face tough competition this year with league schools.
“Our hardest competition will be our league schools just like it always is. Our league schools always have good players and good coaches also,” he explained.
The “Silver Lake Way” is a saying very close to Ziegler’s heart.
“The ‘Silver Lake Way,’ to me, means a lot of things. It means our players always represent our school well by being respectful to our opponent, competing with great effort and intensity, being coachable, being a caring teammate, and playing to be champions every year,” he explained.