|Posted December 3, 2008|
Former coach Simmons to be honored by CSU-Pueblo
Pack's home court at Massari Arena to be named after ‘The Chief.'
PUEBLO, Colo. (Dec. 2, 2008) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo athletic department will honor the memory and legacy of legendary men's basketball coach and administrator, Harry Simmons, by naming the court at Massari Arena "Harry H. Simmons Court."
The naming ceremony will take place during halftime of the ThunderWolves' game against Seattle Pacific University Saturday, part of the Chuck Stephens Classic, hosted by CSU-Pueblo at Massari Arena. Tip-off for the game is set at approximately 8 p.m. On hand to receive the honor are members of Simmons' family, including his son and former University of Southern Colorado Sports Information Director, Tim Simmons.
Harry Simmons, who coached for 35 years for Pueblo Junior College, Southern Colorado State College and the University of Southern Colorado, amassed one of best collegiate coaching records in the nation at any level, going 603-326 from 1945-80. In that time, his teams made 11 national tournament appearances and won the 1961 National Junior College Athletic Association national championship.
Simmons' career at Pueblo began immediately following his service in World War II. He was named the men's basketball coach and athletic director in 1945, and went on to direct Pueblo Junior College to a 331-154 record from 1945-63, earning six conference championships as well as the 1961 national championship - including NJCAA Coach of the Year honors that season. In addition to his duties as men's basketball coach at PJC, Simmons also coached football, baseball, track, golf and tennis at one point or another during this 18-year span at the college.
When the institution became a four-year institution in 1963, renamed Southern Colorado State College, Simmons continued the winning tradition of the program, enjoying 11 straight winning seasons from 1964 to 1974, and enjoying a 200-111 record, including five national tournament appearances and an NCAA Division II West Regional championship in 1972.
Simmons closed out his career when the university renamed once more, becoming the University of Southern Colorado, and turning in a 72-61 mark from 1975 to 1980. In 1980, Simmons captured his 700th win of his coaching career, which included stints at Trinidad Junior College and at Vineland High School.
Upon his retirement in 1980, Simmons was voted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1983, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame in 1986, and the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 1988. He is also a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, the Greater Pueblo Sports Hall of Fame, the Colorado High School Hall of Fame, and the Colorado Officials Hall of Fame. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's Coach of the Year award is named in Simmons' honor.