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Jim Zorn Plays the Ukulele and is an Amateur DJ?


Your new Redskins coach.

As I've gleefully collected mildly quirky Jim Zorn anecdotes in recent days, it never occurred to me that they might all be fake. But yesterday, in discussing Jim Zorn's solo viola performance with the Seattle Sympony, a colleague said to me, "don't you think it's possible that he made all these stories up?" Apparently, Brendan Shanahan was famous for submitting farcical personal information for his teams' media guides, and going so far as to conduct farcical interviews about these farcical details.

At the time the legendarily cynical JLC was telling me this, I was still sticking to my viola-playing, three-dimensional-art constructing Star is Zorn guns, but this ukulele thing might be the final straw. Maybe Jay-Z actually made up every single quirky story I've cited here in recent days. Via colleague Paul Tenorio comes an image of Zorn's bio from the 1981 Seahawks media guide. I'll just publish the "Personal" section in full:

Prior to attending Cal Poly, Zorn played two seasons at Cerritos, Calif., Community College. He attended Gahr High in Cerritos, Calif. and lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track. Is an accomplished speed skater and was once an amateur boxer. Was Cal Poly's commencement speaker June 1979 and Cerritos College's this past June. Was voted by Seahawks' fans as the Seattle NFL Man of the Year in this year's Miller High Life Beer-sponsored contest for community service. Involved in a number of community activities including the fight against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Played the viola with the Seattle Symphony at a 1980 concert and has now taken up the ukulele. Traveled to England this past off-season and worked as a Saturday morning disc jockey for local radio station KZAM.

So at this point, we have a Redskins head coach who has played Ode to Joy on the viola with a symphony orchestra, claimed he would be a mixed-media artist if he weren't a football coach, teamed with Frank Tanana to send quarterbacks down a Slip 'n Slide and modeled his musical career after Don Ho. I'm calling this bluff. No way.

A Nexis search for Jim Zorn and ukulele yields zero returns, as does a search for Jim Zorn and KZAM. Google is no help with the ukulele bit, and only some Pacific Northwest nostalgia concerning KZAM. As for Nexis and Zorn and the viola, not counting the Frank Viola stuff, we have my original source (a 1980 WaPo article), a very brief 1980 New York Times reference, another 1980 WaPo reference (from Norman Chad), who says in the item that Zorn has also climbed Mt. Rainier, and my story in Monday's newspaper. That's it. An entire career as a viola- and ukulele-playing quarterback, and that's the sum total of archived reportage. There's just no way. He's a serial fibber.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 12, 2008; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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