By Jon Moffett
Roger Zeigler answered a lot of questions during his 38 years as a teacher and basketball coach. His latest answer was perhaps his least favorite.
“People have asked me when I’m going to retire, for a while, and this was just the time,” he said. “I’ve done this for 38 years and I’m just ready to move on.”
The longtime coach, most recently at United High, told his girls’ team his intentions to retire earlier this week. He said it was difficult, but necessary.
“There was some sadness, and I can understand that because there was sadness on my part too,” he said. “They’ve been a part of my life for several years. It wasn’t a happy moment, but we got through it.”
Zeigler cited the time his profession required, and the lack of time his family received, as his main reason. With many sports becoming year-round activity.
“The film study, the recruiting, the camps, I just don’t enjoy them as much as I used to do,” the retired Salem teacher said. “I still love the games, but all the other stuff that goes along with it wears on you.”
Zeigler said he plans to spend more quality time with Karen, his wife of 45 years, and travel a bit. He said he’s always wanted for the couple to be able to spend a few weeks down south during Ohio’s notorious pre-winter, winter and post-winter months.
The Zeiglers also have three children — two sons who still live in the area, and a daughter in the Dayton area — and five grandchildren to spoil. And now he can focus his attention on his other favorite sport.
“I love golf,” he said. “So now I can play in the month of June. I never could before because we’ve always been all over the place.”
Zeigler said he will miss two things most about coaching: the girls he coached and the fellow coaches he met. Some of those coaches grew to be dear friends, he said.
The Golden Eagles enjoyed much success under Zeigler. The team went 87-26 during his five years as head coach. He said he is excited for the program’s future and hopes the new coach has the same success he experienced.
Asked if his retirement from the sport had hit him yet, Zeigler said it was still too early to tell.
“Right now, it’s sort of there, yeah. But I think it will become more of a reality or more real in June or closer to the fall,” he said. “I think the first time it’s really going to hit me is June, because that’s when all of the college camps are.”
Zeigler said he plans to attend games on a regular basis and cheer for the girls.
Just as long as it doesn’t interfere with his tee time.