MIKE NIETO: Zasada waking up Reavis football

2013-11-14T18:00:00Z 2013-11-15T00:47:04Z MIKE NIETO: Zasada waking up Reavis footballMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
November 14, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

If you could sell Tim Zasada's energy and passion for coaching to a power company, it would make a lot of money.

The Hammond High grad is busy building a once-proud football program at Reavis. In his two years at the Burbank school, he is 9-9. But you have to consider before "Z" arrived that the Rams were 8-28 over the previous four years. They won just one game in the two seasons before Zasada's arrival.

This year's team just missed the playoffs. Just getting over .500 is not Zasada's goal.

"We want to be a program that gets to the playoffs and not just get there, but do something," Zasada said. "We made some strides the first two years, but definitely are not satisfied.

"There is a lot of pride in this community, school and we want to be successful."

His Rams won four of their last six, but just didn't have enough playoff points.

"We were as close as you could get, but it didn't happen," Zasada said. "We felt we were better than a few playoff teams, but that is the way it goes.

"You have to take care of your own business and do what you need to do."

He was successful at Hammond as a player and as a football and girls basketball coach. His 2000 Wildcats football team upset Griffith, 30-27, to win a sectional title.

He went across the state to T.F. North at Calumet City and turned around a losing Meteors program, making it a perennial playoff team. He rebuilt the girls basketball program into one of the best in the south suburbs.

He took the Reavis football job in January 2012 and everyone wondered why given the program's lack of success. Zasada didn't see it that way. He thought of the 1982 team which won a state title and he invited them back for a 30-year reunion. He wanted his kids to know that a state title had been won at Reavis and they could build towards that.

He also changed the culture. Last spring, during a Class 4A baseball sectional, several football players were running drills and pass routes. There was no Zasada, no coaching staff. They did it by themselves.

"We got some kids, who I guess you can call 'gym rats' and I mean that in a good way," Zasada said. "They love to play football. They love to compete and they will find a place to play or work out. They have a passion, excitement about the game."

Just like their coach.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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