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Also, Rock Hoffman's College Football Top 20 as of November 15th

West Chester head football coach Bill Zwaan is calling it a career after spending a lifetime excelling as a player and a coach. Photo courtesy of West Chester University.

West Chester University football coach Bill Zwaan has called it a career.

After 20 seasons leading the Golden Rams and six more before that at Widener, Zwaan finishes with 217 wins, 12 playoff appearances, and the 2018 PSAC Championship.

Twice he led the Golden Rams to the Division II semifinals and in 2000, his Widener team advanced to the semifinals of the Division III playoffs.

His 163 wins at West Chester are the most ever and he ranks sixth all-time in wins at PSAC schools.

At Widener, his .794 (54-14) winning percentage is the highest in school history.

All that would be enough, but Zwaan had a history before becoming a head football coach.

In 1971, as a quarterback, he led Archbishop Carroll to the City title as they beat Frankford 15-14 at Franklin Field in just the third season the school had played football.

At the University of Delaware, he guided the Blue Hens to the championship game of the Division II playoffs where they lost to Eastern Illinois 10-9.

West Chester head football coach Bill Zwaan with Footballstories College Editor Rock Hoffman. Submitted by Rock Hoffman.

“I’m lucky,” said Zwaan at his final area college football coaches’ luncheon, “I said this Saturday, I basically lived in the same house for over 30 years, what college coach is able to say that? And I did it in my home town; this is where I grew up – Havertown. I’m extremely lucky and I know it.”

He talked about the lives he’s touched over the years and how gratifying it is to hear from former players and know that they listened to what he said because they repeat it back to him and say how those words have impacted their lives.

It wasn't just players whom Zwaan helped, he told a story about the first time they had a child with Autism score a touchdown during the spring football game and they made a big event, it was on the local TV news, and the child, who was Zwaan's nephew, was all smiles as he celebrated in the end zone with the team.

That night, the child's father, Zwaan's brother-in-law, texted him, saying it was the greatest night of his son’s life.

“How can you top that,” Zwaan said.

He talked about a young man with Down’s Syndrome who was an intern with the program and after he scored his touchdown, he hugged Zwaan.

“It lasted three minutes,” he said, “it felt like it was three hours, and he wouldn’t let me go because it meant that much to him.

West Chester head football coach Bill Zwaan was a regular at the coaches luncheon held every week in the area. The stories he told over the last two decades are stuff of legend. Photo By Rock Hoffman

“I think about all the things that we were able to do and all the big wins, all the great moments and it’s those kinds of moments that you take with you forever.”

As to why now is the time to retire, Zwaan has been dealing with a painful leg and it makes it hard to stand during practices and games.

“My leg has been a mess for five years now,” said the 69-year-old Zwaan. “I feel like I’ve aged 15 years in the last five. I feel like I’ve become the one thing I never wanted to be, a doddering old man hanging out on the football field.”

Zwaan wanted to walk away last year but decided to stay because among other reasons, two key players transferred, and he didn’t want those that were still there to feel like everyone was abandoning them. It still isn’t easy to go.

The University and Zwaan's family organized a big send-off for the coach following his final game, after it was over, he went to the locker room and only a few players remained. One, a senior, came up to Zwaan and said, "Thanks for staying."

“All that stuff hits you in the heart,” Zwaan said when he was a guest on the multi-platform Footballstories Live Show, “and that’s what makes it tough to walk away.”

As for what he’s going to do now that he’s done coaching, he was going to watch his grandson’s little league football game. *

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1 - Ohio State (10-0)

2 - Georgia (10-0)

3 - Michigan (10-0)

4 - Washington (10-0)

5 - Florida State (10-0)

6 - Oregon (9-1)

7 - Texas (9-1)

8 - Alabama (9-1)

9 – Louisville (9-1)

10 - Missouri (8-2)

11 - Oregon State (8-2)

12 - Oklahoma (8-2)

13 – Penn State (8-2)

14 - Ole Miss (8-2)

15 – LSU (7-3)

16 – Iowa (8-2)

17 – Utah (7-3),

18 - Tennessee (7-3)

19 - Notre Dame (7-3)

20 - North Carolina (8-2)

Five to watch – JMU (10-0), Liberty (10-0), Tulane (9-1), Kansas State (7-3), Arizona (7-3)

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