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A neck injury ended Mike Zimmer’s football career at Illinois State.

Illinois State University,

Chart: The Mike Zimmer file

  • January 18, 2014 - 7:46 PM

The Zimmer File

Born: June 5, 1956, in Peoria, Ill.

Family: Son Adam is a Bengals assistant coach; daughters Corri and Marki. Zimmer’s wife, Vikki, died of natural causes at age 50 in 2009; they had been married for 27 years. His father, Bill, was a standout player at Bradley and signed with the 49ers before a knee injury dashed his hopes. Bill was Mike’s coach in high school and is in the Illinois high school football and wrestling halls of fame.

High school: Lockport Township High School near Chicago, which is also the alma mater of former Twins player Ron Coomer and ex-Timberwolf Alando Tucker.

College: Illinois State. Zimmer played football for the Redbirds until a neck injury ended his career. He was a quarterback but was quickly converted to linebacker. After his injury, he was a student assistant on the coaching staff. He also played baseball for ISU and earned a degree in physical education in 1979.

College coaching: He started his career as an assistant at Missouri (1979-80) and also coached at Weber State (1981-88) and Washington State (1989-93).

NFL coaching: Began as an assistant with Dallas (1994-06), where he was defensive coordinator for seven seasons. Was defensive coordinator for Atlanta in 2007 and with Cincinnati from 2008-2013.

Awards: In 2009, he was named NFL assistant coach of the year by the Pro Football Writers and cbssports.com.

Super Bowl ring: Was secondary coach in 1995 for Dallas under Barry Switzer when the Cowboys beat Pittsburgh 27-17 for their last Super Bowl title.

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