Zielinski leaving Westminster Christian for St. Edward
Westminster Christian boys basketball coach Andy Zielinski resigned Tuesday to accept the same position at St. Edward.
Zielinski led Westminster Christian to a 58-27 record in three seasons, highlighted by a Class 1A regional title in 2016-17.
He replaces PJ White, who retired as St. Edward coach after eight seasons and remains the Elgin school's athletic director.
"I had three great years there," Zielinski said of Westminster. "I love the school and everything about it and I was expecting to come back. The kids are great. I will always be a fan of the kids and the school.
"This came up quick. It's just one of those opportunities that came up and things fell together. It's a good program with a lot of tradition and they really support their athletics. It's a good academic school. It just seemed like a good fit."
Zielinski coached Westminster Christian to a 20-7 record in 2017-18.
"I think we hit the jackpot," White said. "I think he's a great find for our school that fits into everything we do both on and off the court. And you can't ask for a better person to take over the program. He's a guy who cares about basketball and wants to continue coaching. I hope it's a good opportunity for him, but it's a great opportunity for our school. I'm sure he'll put together a great staff so the program continues to go in the right direction."
St. Edward didn't have a teaching opening to pair with the coaching vacancy, but Zielinski represents the next best option. He teaches business at nearby South Elgin.
"He teaches eight minutes away from our school, which is perfect," White said.
Meanwhile, the search begins for the sixth coach in Westminster Christian's 20-year basketball history. The Elgin school thanked its fifth coach for his service.
"Andy has been a true professional in all aspects," Westminster Christian athletic director Rick Palmer said. "He has represented our school in a very professional manner and has invested countless hours in coaching, scouting and preparing our basketball players for competition over the last three years. I appreciate Andy's commitment to the school and the athletes over these past three years and wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Zielinski replaces White, whose teams went 135-102, including two Class 2A regional titles and a sectional title in 2014-15.
Prior to taking his first head coaching job at Westminster Christian, Zielinski spent two seasons as South Elgin's sophomore coach, another year as a varsity assistant and two years coaching freshman girls. He spent 12 years as an Evanston assistant after his playing career at North Central College.
Zielinski has experience taking over for a successful coach. He grabbed the reins at Westminster after the retirement of Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall-of-Famer Bruce Firchau.
"First coach Firchau and now coach White," Zielinski said. "It'll be a challenge to keep things going. You have to work at it."