Jacob Zehnder has been elevated to Interim Head Basketball Coach at Francis Marion University for the 2022-23 season. He replaces long-time head coach Gary Edwards, who announced his retirement this past Tuesday. Zehnder had served as an assistant under Edwards since 2020.
Last season, he helped the Patriot program to a 10-win improvement over the previous season. He was the recipient of the University’s 2021-22 Frankie Award for Assistant Coach of the Year.
A native of St. Cloud, Fla., Zehnder came to FMU after six seasons as an assistant coach at the College of Central Florida in Ocala, where those Patriots compiled a 138-52 mark. He also helped guide the school to a state-best 13th consecutive FCSAA State Tournament appearance and NJCAA Top 25 rankings in four of his six years.
During the 2019-20 season, CF finished 25-7 and won the Mid-Florida Conference championship. Zehnder was instrumental in the pursuance of individual and team development, helping the Patriots to multiple team and individual Top 10 rankings. In 2018, Zehnder was recognized as the top junior college assistant coach under 30-years-old by Coachstat.net.
Before arriving at CF, Zehnder served as the head coach of the freshmen and assistant coach of the varsity team at The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., from 2012 to 2014. His coaching career also includes a stint as an assistant at P.K. Yonge during the 2011-12 season.
While at The Rock School, Zehnder coached a number of accomplished players, including Joel Embiid, former No.4 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and 3-time NBA All-Star.
During the spring and summer months, Zehnder coached youth basketball for the Gainesville Kings AAU organization between 2011 and 2013. His U4-U6 teams won a number of tournaments, including the well-known Disney Easter Classic.
Zehnder earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in business and organizational management from the College of Central Florida. He played high school basketball at both Harmony High School and Florida Air Academy.