His speed and athleticism caught your eye. Whether he was using his patented turntable move to blow by a defender on the basketball court or avoiding a blocker to make another tackle on the football field, Jim Zien commanded your attention. But it was his keen competitive spirit that set him apart and made him a Hall of Famer.
Jim Zien (WLHS class of 1974) played basketball and football at Windsor Locks High School and excelled at both. He played varsity basketball for 3 years and was co-captain and the team’s second leading scorer his senior year. He scored 28 points against Berlin that year.
As much as he enjoyed playing basketball, Jim would find most of his athletic success on the football field. In 1973 Jim was voted the team’s most exuberant player while being selected all conference in Central Valley Conference. He was selected to Hartford Times All-Suburban Team and was given honorable mention All-State recognition. Jim was also selected to Prep High school All-American team based no doubt on his 75 unassisted tackles in 10 games.
After high school Jim continued football career at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia Canada. In 1977 & 1978 he was voted co-captain. He was the leader of the best defensive team in Canada his senior year. That year theschool also was Atlantic University Athletic Champions and played in the Atlantic Bowl in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1976 Jim was voted the most improved player. In 1978 he was selected most valuable player. In 1978 he was selected the best defensive player. In 1977 & 1978 he was a Unanimous Defensive All-Conference Award recipient. And finally in 1978 he was awarded the “Varsity Club Memorial Award”, as the university’s Male Athlete of the year.
These days Jim is a certified financial planner and lives with his wife Cindy in Suffield. They have a daughter Kate who is also a financial planner. Jim has several hobbies and interests. He is an avid scuba diver and likes to ski, hunt, fish and travel. He also enjoys woodworking and gardening. Although he roots for all the Boston teams, Jim is a diehard Celtics fan.
Jim’s brother Charlie was inducted into the WLAHOF in 2014.
Jim Zien had the whole package, superior athletic ability, intelligence and a deep desire to win. And if that was not enough he was a great teammate and fun to be around. He’s the second Zien to be inducted in to the Hall but second to no one as a teammate, athlete and friend.