It would have been easy for Tyler Zimmer to walk away from the mess and look for another new start in his college football career.
Seton Hill went 0-11 last season and fired coach Joel Dolinski. Zimmer, though, had an outstanding season and certainly would have had a number of programs interested if he had decided to transfer.
Zimmer, a junior linebacker and Penn-Trafford High School graduate, never gave a thought to leaving Seton Hill.
"I'm true to my school," Zimmer said. "I love my school. I love my friends and my teammates at Seton Hill, and I love the fact that my family lives nearby and can go to all my games."
Zimmer wants to be part of the solution to Seton Hill's problems as the Griffins move to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference this season from the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
That is why he sought out new coach Isaac Collins a few days after he officially took the job last winter after a three-year stint as the head coach at Widener University in Chester, Pa. The visit, along with those of other holdovers from last year's roster, made an impression on Collins.
"He was one of the first guys who came to talk to me," Collins said. "It was really important as it was with the 36 other guys who decided to stay. They are going to be the rock, the foundation for which the 43 new guys in our program can cling to."
Collins liked what he heard from Zimmer.
"He sat down in my office and we talked for 30-40 minutes," Collins said. "He talked about the things he thought we could do better as a program and things he could do to become a better leader.
"It wasn't about the past and what went wrong but about how we could get better. I liked how he approached it, looking ahead instead of looking back."
Zimmer has the attributes to be a team leader.
Not only is he personable and articulate but has credibility as a standout player. Last season, he was in on 121 tackles, including 23 1/2 for loss and 10 sacks.
"It was a blessing to be able to put up the statistics I did and amazing to receive the accolades I did, but obviously you play football because you want to win games," Zimmer said. "Setting all the personal stuff aside, I want to win. That's the most important thing."
Seton Hill has not done a lot of winning since instituting its program in 2005, going 20-68 in eight seasons. Half of those victories came in one year as the Griffins went 10-3 in 2008 and participated in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Seton Hill has gone 1-21 in Zimmer's two seasons since he transferred from Duquesne. He played in two games for the Dukes in 2011 before tearing ligaments in his left ankle and undergoing surgery.
"I liked Duquesne but I really wanted to be closer to home," Zimmer said. "My family gives me huge support. They come to every game and I wanted to make travel easier for them."
While Zimmer's family has been able to watch him make a lot of big plays, it has also watched him suffer through a lot of losses. He believes that is going to change following the change of coaches.
"The whole coaching staff is so positive," Zimmer said. "They keep the ball rolling all the time. That's what we need, that little push that we didn't have in the past."