49ers Pluck Jim Zeches From Cougar Football Staff

June 20, 2001

Long-time Washington State University assistant football coach Jim Zeches announced Tuesday he has accepted a position with the San Francisco 49ers as a regional scout.

'For us this is one of the worst of times and also one the best of times, which is often the case in athletics,' offered Cougar head coach Mike Price. 'We hate to lose Jim, but at the same time it's a great opportunity for him. He's been with me for 14 years, a loyal assistant who has contributed greatly to our successes.'

Zeches has been with Price sine 1989 beginning with two seasons at Weber State and the last 12 at WSU. WSU's recruiting coordinator since 1994, Zeches coached defensive tackles for two years, outside linebackers for eight seasons and tight ends for the past two years.

'The best thing Jim does is evaluating talent,' according to Price. 'Because of Jim's eye for talent, we have taken players no one else recruited and they played for us and became stars. One of the reasons we've won is because of the people that Jim Zeches has successfully evaluated.'

If there is a right time to make a career decision, this is the right one for Jim and his wife Kathy according to Price. Their son, Brian, graduated from Pullman High this month and is going to play football at Illinois.

'We're going to miss Jim and I know he will always be a Cougar, but not every college coach is presented with the opportunity to move into the NFL,' added Price. 'It is a great opportunity for him to join Terry Donahue, the new general manager of the 49ers. Terry was well aware of Jim's ability to evaluate talent and he came after Jim, who wasn't even thinking about another job until Terry approached him last month.'

Zeches was an assistant at UCLA for Donahue from 1978-80.

'I have mixed feelings, but I am real excited about this opportunity,' Zeches said. 'I've worked for Coach Price for 14 years and 12 years here, and we've had some good times and we've had some bad times. I've been blessed in the fact that I've worked for good people, I've worked for Coach Price, I've worked for Dennis Green and I've worked for Coach Donahue who I'm going to work for again. I'm going to miss a lot of my friends here at Washington State, but I'm kind of looking forward to a new challenge.'

As for a new recruiting coordinator at WSU, Price stressed the importance of the position and said no decisions have been made yet.

'The possibility of Jim leaving has been brewing for about six weeks,' Price said, 'so I have had an opportunity to think about some options. I have thought about a few possible candidates, but it's pretty much wide open right now. Replacing Jim is not a decision I will make over night.'

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