by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Joel Zimmerman, assistant coach for the Barton College men's basketball team, was among 34 coaches nationally who recently participated in a prestigious NCAA Men's Basketball Coaches Academy.
The academy provided the selected coaches with an opportunity to take part in a variety of workshops and interactive discussion groups designed to help the participants grow in their craft.
"The NCAA had done this type of leadership development academy before in football, but this was the inaugural one for basketball," Zimmerman said. "It's geared towards coaches trying to develop the skills needed to take the next step in the profession. The selection process is pretty extensive – lengthy application, resumes, references, coaching philosophy. It was a great honor to be chosen."
Zimmerman was one of 14 NCAA Division II coaches selected for the academy, which met over a three-day span in Tampa, Fla.
"There were a lot of different presentations, from building and sustaining a culture of excellence both on and off the court to program building," Zimmerman said. "Some were led by head coaches who had been assistants on a similar path. Others were led by athletic directors from prominent institutions. It was a phenomenal learning experience, for sure."
Over two different stints – the first encompassing Barton's 2007 NCAA Division II national championship – Zimmerman has served a total eight seasons as the primary assistant to head coach Ron Lievense, and has been a key contributor to the success of the Bulldogs.
"The academy, especially for assistant coaches, gave us an opportunity to look at coaching from a 360 degree view," Zimmerman said. "There was a lot of information and some great insight that I believe will help me serve Coach Lievense, our team and Barton College in becoming a better assistant."