Sports

Two SVSU coaches retire after long careers

After a combined 84 years of coaching, golf coach Joe Vogl and swimming and diving coach Bruce Zimmerman have decided to retire.

Vogl transferred to SVSU as a student in 1972 so that he could play golf. He eventually became a graduate assistant under former head coach Bob Becker.

After 15 years as the building manager for the Ryder and coaching golf at an assistant level, SVSU expanded its golf program to include a women’s team, which pushed Vogl into a head coaching position. During his tenure, Vogl also spent time marketing for the Athletic Department.

Vogl said he was happy with the growth he saw at SVSU over the years.

“I am proud that I have been able to be here to see all of the growth,” Vogl said. “I am lucky to have been in one place and see all of the awards and accomplishments.”

Vogl said he also enjoyed the chance at self-development his positions at SVSU afforded him.

“I am proud of my adult life here,” Vogl said. “I have also enjoyed getting to see the success of my former athletes and feel like I maybe had a little part in that.”

Zimmerman left Division I College of Charleston following the 2013-2014 season in hopes to create a swim and dive program at SVSU.

His hopes became a reality when SVSU established a women’s team of nine swimmers and three divers in the 2014-2015 season.

In the following season, SVSU founded its men’s swim and dive team, which was able to place sixth in the GLIAC.

Year after year, the program got stronger under Zimmerman, as it has been able to finish with higher placings and with more accolades with each passing season.

Vogl said he had a tremendous respect for the work that Zimmerman has done with the program.

“Zimmerman has done a great job since coming to SVSU,” Vogl said. “Division II is a totally different game, and Zimmerman never missed a beat with his program.”

Zimmerman said he did not take stepping away from coaching lightly.

“I have enjoyed my seven years at SVSU,” Zimmerman said. “I will miss the daily interactions with the student-athletes and the members of the SVSU community.”

Zimmerman said he also feels that he accomplished what he came to SVSU to do.

“A strong foundation has been built, and now it is time for the next coach to take SVSU to a new level of greatness,” Zimmerman said.

Both Vogl and Zimmerman are retiring to spend more time with their families. Athletic Director John Decker said he is not worried about the coming changes on the coaching front.

“Coaching changes happen on a regular basis in college athletics,” Decker said. “There is bound to be a degree of disruption. Fortunately for us, both coaches gave us time to begin the search process.”

Decker also said he believes SVSU will be able to find good replacements for each coach regardless of the recent NCAA violations.

In 2019, the NCAA cited SVSU with 137 violations across 15 sports for allowing athletes to play past their eligibilty.

“I don’t think these resignations correlate with our violations,” Decker said. “We had great applicant pools last year right after the violations were announced. Candidates know they weren’t intentional, and there were not any sanctions that impacted our ability to recruit.”

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