Albert Lea grad, former coach in state title game

Published 9:26 am Friday, November 26, 2010

Mike Zeman — a 1995 graduate of Albert Lea High School — is the defensive line coach for the Rogers football team, a Class AAAA state finalist.

Zeman spent five years coaching Albert Lea under Jeff Marty and Clay Anderson. He was both an offensive line coach and linebacker’s coach for the Tigers and said much of what he learned in Albert Lea, he has taken to Rogers.

“There are a lot of great coaches in Albert Lea,” Zeman said. “Max Jeffrey, Gary Abben and Roger Zeman all know how to treat players and get the most out of them.”

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Zeman played outside linebacker for the Tigers in 1993 and 1994 for Chris Chalmers. He said he uses the same coaching techniques and philosophies he took from Steve Cunningham, Chalmers’ defensive line coach, and Anderson.

“It’s the exact same stuff,” Zeman said. “Same technique, extension and way of reading pressure. I definitely bring a lot of my experiences to Rogers.”

The Rogers Royals are 12-0 and face Totino-Grace Saturday in the Class AAAA state championship game at the Metrodome.

Zeman credits much of the team’s success to his current senior class which he’s worked with since they were sophomores.

“They’re bearing the fruit of their labors right now,” Zeman said. “This class is not only talented, but the most hardworking kids I’ve ever been around.”

The Royals have gone 28-6 since Zeman started at the school as an English teacher three years ago. He said Rogers has been working really hard the past three to four years to be in the position they’re in today.