Posted by & filed under News.

First of all, I wish there didn’t need to be a new head football coach at East High.

That would mean the terrible news from last Nov. 12 didn’t really happen and that we’d all still have Walt Fiegel around to help keep our lives more enjoyable.

We don’t have that option, of course, so my task today is to give the proper due to Steve Zediker, a guy Walter was proud to coach many years ago and also a guy he’d have been proud to have succeed him.

This is something that has been lost a bit in the shuffle of news reports the last several days.

First, after learning the word was out, we ran a story Sunday morning without benefit of comments or elaborate background on the candidate, who could not be reached Saturday night, as will happen in this world of breaking news and busy lives.

Next came the follow-up after the school board’s vote Tuesday to confirm the selection, a story that delved into other matters and, again, neglected more specifics on the new head coach.

Let’s take care of that.

Zediker is not only a former three-year varsity football player for East and a rare two-year starter at quarterback, he’s also a coach with a state championship under his belt, leading Coleridge to Nebraska’s Class C2 title in 1982.

More than anything, he’s someone who respects the tradition that he is now entrusted with perpetuating.

“It’s one of the top jobs in the state,” said Zediker, well aware that East is among the all-time leaders in state playoff appearances with 18 (in Class 4A, the Raiders trail only the 27 trips for West Des Moines Dowling, 23 for Heelan and 20 by Newton).

First of all, I wish there didn’t need to be a new head football coach at East High.

That would mean the terrible news from last Nov. 12 didn’t really happen and that we’d all still have Walt Fiegel around to help keep our lives more enjoyable.

We don’t have that option, of course, so my task today is to give the proper due to Steve Zediker, a guy Walter was proud to coach many years ago and also a guy he’d have been proud to have succeed him.

This is something that has been lost a bit in the shuffle of news reports the last several days.

First, after learning the word was out, we ran a story Sunday morning without benefit of comments or elaborate background on the candidate, who could not be reached Saturday night, as will happen in this world of breaking news and busy lives.

Next came the follow-up after the school board’s vote Tuesday to confirm the selection, a story that delved into other matters and, again, neglected more specifics on the new head coach.

Let’s take care of that.

Zediker is not only a former three-year varsity football player for East and a rare two-year starter at quarterback, he’s also a coach with a state championship under his belt, leading Coleridge to Nebraska’s Class C2 title in 1982.

More than anything, he’s someone who respects the tradition that he is now entrusted with perpetuating.

“It’s one of the top jobs in the state,” said Zediker, well aware that East is among the all-time leaders in state playoff appearances with 18 (in Class 4A, the Raiders trail only the 27 trips for West Des Moines Dowling, 23 for Heelan and 20 by Newton).

He worked for a time in the insurance business and also made quite a name for himself as one of fast-pitch softball’s premier catchers, helping Penn Corp carve out an impressive dynasty.

Four years after college, he shifted gears, taking his first teaching job at Coleridge and leading that school’s football teams to a four-year record of 31-12-1, suffering seven of the losses in the same year.

After selling some more insurance for a few years, he came back to coaching with one season on the football staff at North, finally moving back to East in 1990.

Zediker, certainly, didn’t want the circumstances under which he has become the head coach, but it’s an exciting opportunity. His wife, the former Nancy Tritz, is an avid football fan, as are two sons, Bart and Matt, who both played football for East.

That tradition is in good hands.

Sioux City Journal sports editor Terry Hersom can be reached at (712) 293-4214 or by e-mail at terryhersom@siouxcityjournal.com.