One of the great coaches from Central Minnesota is former Milaca High School Head Wrestling Coach Randy Zimmer. With a career high school coaching record of 556-138-8, with 10 teams that qualified for the Minnesota State Wrestling tournament with seven teams placing, 129 individual state qualifiers, 44 state place winners and five state champions, Coach Randy Zimmer is also one of Minnesota’s finest ever.
Coach Zimmer is truly one of the nice guys in the coaching ranks. With all his success with his Milaca wrestling squads, he has been the recipient of numerous coaching honors over the years.
As Head Wrestling Coach at Milaca High School, from 1988 to 2012, Zimmer was voted “Section Coach of the Year” honors nine times, including the years 1994, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012 in Sections 6AA and 7AA.
He was also voted Minnesota Class AA (MWCA) “Coach of the Year” in 2000 and 2012; He was selected as 2012 Minnesota Wrestling “Coach of the Year” from the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA); He received Wrestling USA Magazine’s Minnesota “Person of the Year” in 2010; He was inducted into the Dave Bartelma-Minnesota (MWCA) “wrestling Hall of Fame in 2014;” Zimmer received the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2013, and the St. Cloud State University “Alumni Achievement Award” in 2012.
This past fall (2018) Zimmer was inducted into the Milaca High School Athletic Hall of Fame and now is a 2019 Inductee to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame-Minnesota Chapter.
In 1975, seventh grader, Randy Zimmer joined wrestling and started on the varsity team, he did not leave the “varsity” wrestling mat for the next several years.
His wrestling career started in Wabasso and he wrestled for National Wrestling Hall of Fame Coach Gary Hindt. Randy was the third wrestler in the old District 10 to win 100 matches, right behind Harlan Leopold and Bob Bandmeir.
Randy advanced five times to the Region 3 tournament. Randy’s undefeated senior season was stopped short by a shoulder injury Just before the Region tourney.
After graduation from Wabasso High School in 1975, Randy moved on to Worthington Community College where he advanced to the National Junior College Tournament two consecutive years, also having captured a Minnesota State Junior College Championship.
He was voted “Most Valuable Wrestler” at Worthington JC in 1976 (that same year his younger brother, Dan, won a Minnesota State Title for his alma mater Wabasso High School).
After finishing up at Worthington Junior College, Randy transferred to St. Cloud State University and wrestled for Hall of Fame Coach John Oxton.
Randy got his start in coaching as a “Youth Coach” in 1976 in the Worthington Wrestling program while attending college at Worthington Junior College for the late Hall of Famer Ken Droegemueller, who was then Head Wrestling Coach at Worthington High School.
After graduation from St. Cloud State University in 1980, Randy got his first job in the Milaca School system in 1980-81. He started as an Elementary School Teacher, Junior High Wrestling Coach, Head Weight Training Coach, and Varsity Football Coach.
Randy was named Milaca “Teacher of the Year” in 2011. Zimmer then stepped up to high school coaching as Assistant Wrestling Coach at Milaca High School, serving in that position for the next seven years with a great coach, Randy Johnson.
The next year, in 1988-89, Zimmer started his 24-year run as Head Wrestling Coach at Milaca High School. One of the things Randy did to build for future success was to develop a large youth wrestling program, with 150 to 175 elementary wrestlers participating on a yearly basis.
This really helped produce some quality high school teams for Milaca High School in the coming years. This also developed into a great rivalry with another successful program in Foley High School. This has become one of the most well attended and annually anticipated meets for wrestling fans in “Minnesota Wrestling History” over the years in Central Minnesota.
Beyond Randy’s many accomplishments as a wrestling coach, he has also given back to the sport helping the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) in several capacities and as an Alumni Booster for his Alma Mater St. Cloud State University.
He continues to serve Minnesota Wrestling as a member of the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) Scholarship Committee as well as volunteering at the MSHSL State Wrestling Tournament.
Randy and his wife, Kris, of 40 years, raised their three children Zach, Ali and Jenna in Milaca and they now have seven grandchildren.