One of college football's most experienced and successful coaches, Bob Simmons is in his third year as linebackers coach for the Fighting Irish. Simmons, who spent six years as the head football coach at Oklahoma State (1995-2000), joined Tyrone Willingham's staff as the linebackers coach for the 2002 season.
The Irish linebacker corps has flourished under Simmons' tutelage, spearheading a hard-nosed, aggressive defense that has been among the nation's toughest each season. In 2002, Simmons helped Courtney Watson earn first-team All-America honors from ESPN.com and become one of three finalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's outstanding linebacker. Watson recorded a team-high 90 tackles in only 10 games and had four interceptions that season and went on to lead the team in tackles against in 2003 with 117. Watson was a second-round selection of the New Orleans Saints in the 2004 NFL Draft.
Simmons' 2003 linebacker corps overcame injuries to veteran starters to lead the defense. In addition to Watson, three of the team's top four tacklers were linebackers as Brandon Hoyte (second with 74 tackles) and Derek Curry (fourth with 66) were among the team's defensive leaders.
In 2002, Simmons was a key factor in the development of first-year starters Mike Goolsby and Derek Curry and key backups Brandon Hoyte, Carlos Pierre-Antoine and Justin Thomas. Goolsby finished third on the team with 75 tackles, while Curry had seven tackles for loss and four sacks. Hoyte recorded 57 tackles, earned second-team freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News and was a second-team Academic All-District selection.
While at Oklahoma State, Simmons compiled an overall record of 30-38, rebuilding a downtrodden program as the Cowboys realized amazing success early in Simmons' tenure. During his third season, the Cowboys took that success to another level as Oklahoma State won six straight games to open the campaign and finished the 1997 season with an 8-4 record. The Cowboys were ranked in the nation's top 25 seven of the last eight weeks of the 1997 season, finishing the year ranked 25th, and earning an Alamo Bowl appearance against Purdue. It was Oklahoma State's first postseason bowl appearance since 1988, as Simmons earned Big XII Conference Coach of the Year honors.
After leaving Oklahoma State, Simmons served as a volunteer consultant for the Big XII Conference in Dallas, Texas, in 2001. He worked directly with senior associate commissioner Donnie Duncan and coordinator of football officials Tim Millis.
Simmons came to OSU from the University of Colorado, where he spent seven seasons on Bill McCartney's staff. At Colorado, Simmons was part of a rebuilding process that elevated the Colorado program from a second-division Big Eight finisher to a college football power. While Simmons was on the Colorado staff, the Buffs had a record of 76-16-5 and appeared in six bowl games. Colorado won the national championship in 1990, and won Big Eight Conference championships in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Simmons served as assistant head coach for the Buffaloes in 1994.
While at Colorado, Simmons received two National Football League Fellowships. After the 1998 season, Simmons worked with the Detroit Lions linebackers and, in 1991, he assisted the New Orleans Saints defensive line.
Prior to his stint at Colorado, Simmons spent eight seasons at West Virginia coaching outside linebackers for head coach Don Nehlen. While at West Virginia, he was part of a staff that fashioned six winning seasons and made five bowl trips, including a 1987 appearance in the Sun Bowl opposite Oklahoma State.
He began his coaching career in 1976 as receivers coach at Bowling Green before moving on to the University of Toledo, where he was the outside linebackers coach for three seasons (1977-79). After Toledo had back-to-back 2-9 finishes in 1977 and 1978, he helped guide the Rockets to a 7-3-1 finish in 1979.
The Bob Simmons story has not only evolved on the football field, but off it as well. In 1998, Simmons underwent successful kidney transplant surgery with an organ donated by his wife, Linda.
A popular and successful speaker, he has been featured at numerous venues nationwide, including Promise Keepers events in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He was featured along with General Colin Powell and noted author Zig Ziglar at a Peter Lowe Success Seminar. In addition to his speaking duties, Simmons has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards. He received the Salt and Light Award in 1998 and was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Boy Scouts of America, also in 1998.
Simmons graduated from Bowling Green in 1971 with a major in physical education. He received his master's in college student personnel from Bowling Green in 1972.
As a student-athlete, Simmons lettered three times as a linebacker at Bowling Green and was all-Mid American Conference as a senior when he registered 150 tackles. He lettered in football, basketball and track at Shaw High School in East Cleveland, Ohio.
Born June 13, 1948, in Livingston, Ala., Simmons is married to the former Linda Davidson and has three children - Brandon (29), Nathan (27) and Lelanna (21). Brandon and his wife, Aisha also have two children: B.J. (7) and Ethan (5).
|1977||Toledo ||Outside Linebackers|
|1980||West Virginia ||Outside Linebackers|
|1981||West Virginia (Peach Bowl)||Outside Linebackers|
|1982||West Virginia (Gator Bowl)||Outside Linebackers|
|1983||West Virginia (Hall of Fame Bowl)||Outside Linebackers|
|1984||West Virginia (Bluebonnet Bowl)||Outside Linebackers|
|1985||West Virginia||Outside Linebackers|
|1986||West Virginia||Outside Linebackers|
|1987||West Virginia (Sun Bowl)||Outside Linebackers|
|1988||Colorado (Freedom Bowl)||Outside Linebackers|
|1989||Colorado (Orange Bowl)||Outside Linebackers|
|1990||Colorado (Orange Bowl)||Outside Linebackers|
|1991||Colorado (Blockbuster Bowl)||Outside Linebackers|
|1992||Colorado (Fiesta Bowl)||Defensive Line|
|1993||Colorado (Aloha Bowl)||Defensive Line|
|1994||Colorado (Fiesta Bowl)||Defensive Line|
|1995||Oklahoma State||Head Coach |
|1996||Oklahoma State||Head Coach|
|1997||Oklahoma State (Alamo Bowl)||Head Coach|
|1998||Oklahoma State||Head Coach |
|1999||Oklahoma State||Head Coach|
|2000||Oklahoma State||Head Coach|
|2002||Notre Dame (Gator Bowl)||Linebackers|