Friday, August 28, 2009

Household Name

Zielinski is now the Head Coach at NBTHS

Day 22: Mark Zielinski '89

Mark Zielinski's name entered millions of American kitchens and living rooms on October 9, 1988, the day after the Lions historic streak-ending win over Princeton. Just about every newspaper article about that game emphasized Zielinski's key contributions to the 16-13, especially his two sacks that snuffed out Tiger drives.

Zielinski came to Columbia in 1985 as part of Head Coach Jim Garrett's first, and only, Lions recruiting class. He was first grouped with the tight ends, where he made a big splash at East Rutherford High School in New Jersey, but he eventually stood out at defensive end.

New Coach Larry MacElreavy experimented with Zielinski at linebacker in his first varsity season in 1986, but by '87 he was with the front line of the defense. In that 1987 season, Zielinski recorded 35 tackles and five tackles for a loss.

1988 was an even better year for Zielinski, as he had 57 tackles and made All Ivy Honorable Mention.

All along, Zielinski was a top notch student, entering Columbia as a John Jay Scholar and a National Merit Finalist.

Today, he is entering his seventh season as head coach of the North Brunswick Township High School football team. He has sent several players to college football programs, including the Ivies.

Mark was my halftime guest at the Princeton game in 2007 and he had some great stories about his life before and after Columbia, (including a stint he did as a teacher in South Africa!).


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