Jim Zeleznik

HOF Class of 2011

Born and raised in Joliet, IL, Jim was a 1967 graduate of Joliet East High School.  He received varsity letters in football and track.  His senior year, he was named the MVP of the Kingsmen football team and garnered a Chicago Tribute “Knute Rockne Award”. 


Jim graduated from ISU in 1971 with a BS in Education and his MS in Health Science from the U of I in 1976. 


Jim and his wife Carol began his 33-year career in LeRoy in 1971 where he taught the Biological Sciences, and served as the Dean and AD.  He served as Head Football Coach from 1979 until 2000.  As head coach he was instrumental in developing one of the first and most successful athletic Co-Ops in Illinois.  The LeRoy-Tri-Valley Football Co-Op lasted from 1988 thru 2001.  The program earned 10 IHSA playoff appearances, 5 Conference Championships, a 3A State Final Runner-Up and a 14-0 2A State Championship team in 1996.  He was named the 2000 Pantagraph “Coach of the Decade” and in 2001 was awarded the Bud Maynard “Coach of the Year”.  The BNOA honored him by inducting him into their “Hall of Fame” in 2009.  One of Jim’s proudest accomplishments was being selected by a committee of his peers to be inducted into the IHSFCA “Hall of Fame” in 2003. 


Coaching LeRoy football is still a great source of pride for Jim.  A fair and honest man, Jim was able to connect well with his students and fellow educators.  He always felt honored to be a part of so many students’ lives and such a wonderful school district.  He is and always will be a proud member of the Panther Nation.