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Coach Simons wins 100th game of his career
January 24, 2023
Boys basketball head coach Jim Simons has reached a milestone with his 100th career victory. The Warriors defeated Millard North 69-52 on Saturday, Jan. 7 to give Simons his 100th win. The Westside coach has compiled a record of 100-39 in his fifth season on the sidelines. Simons graduated from Westside in 1996 and returned after college to become a teacher, where he has been on the staff for the past 22 years.
“It’s a place that has great meaning to me,” Simons said. “Athletically and just the school as an institution itself. It’s been a place I’ve enjoyed. A lot of people that have been affiliated with the school have a great deal of meaning for me. So it’s been a fun and rewarding experience. The community aspect of Westside is something that’s always been a cool thing. To see people, checking your phone after the Millard North win and the guys you went to high school with congratulating you. One of them is Steve Hall, who I responded to on the text, I’ve only got a few hundred left to go. The community support, there’s people who’ve been going to games for as long as I’ve been around, as a student, teacher, and coach. So, those parts are really cool. To be a small part of it has been really fun.”
Simons started his coaching career in 2001, when he directed the Junior Warriors basketball program for four years. He taught the game to 5th, 6th, and 7th graders. Simons made his way up the coaching ranks at Westside, as the freshman head coach and as the junior varsity head coach. He was promoted to varsity head coach in 2017. Coach Simons has always wanted to be in sports, but not necessarily as a coach. He wanted to be involved in the business aspect of sports.
“I don’t know,” Simons said, “I was obviously interested and passionate about sports and athletics. I think at one point out of high school I had an idea that I wanted to do some sort of athletic administration, maybe at the college level. I was interested in sports and systems and how things ran. I actually started college as a sports management major, which kind of had a business tilt to it. In the summers in college I was coming back and coaching baseball. I kind of realized that maybe it wasn’t the kind of sports that I liked as much as the people. Being around the coaches, players, and all the other people was more enjoyable than the business side of sports. Two or three years into college is when I decided to make the switch and thought that going into coaching would be better than going into sports management. My first thought was that I’d be more in the business aspect of sports. I knew I wanted to be in sports, but what side of sports changed halfway through college.”
After 100 wins, there has to be a couple of victories that stick out. Coach Simons singled out the 2019 District championship game against Millard North, where Carl Brown hit the game winning three-pointer at the buzzer to seal the title for the Warriors. Simons also mentioned the covid 2020 State Tournament games against Creighton Prep and Bellevue West before small crowds at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“Sometimes as coaches you remember some of the losses more than the wins,” Simons said. “Probably the most memorable game was the District final against Millard North, where Carl Brown hit the shot at the buzzer that kind of went viral. It was memorable because as a coach, that was the first time I’ve had a team qualify for the state tournament. It was a memorable ending. We outplayed them for the first three quarters, and had a double digit lead. Credit to Millard North, they made a strong push at us and had taken a lead there. We executed a play that we had run a few times in practice. We actually ran it earlier in the year against Lincoln East. It had got Jadin Booth a shot. We executed it really well, Tucker Hagan threw a great pass, Chase Thompson made a great catch and pass, and Carl banked it. Next thing you know we’re on SportsCenter. Top play of the day heading into the state tournament. That one was memorable. The covid state tournament was memorable. In 2020, we played Prep in the first round. What we thought was gonna be an awesome crowd, and two days later we found out that there’s only gonna be 100 or a couple hundred people there. To be able to beat them at the state tournament and play Bellevue West in the semi-final, it was just such a great experience. But honestly, more than the wins are probably the people. Assistant coaches and players stick out more than an individual game here or there.”
Coach Simons picked up his 101st win with a 67-55 victory over Papillion-LaVista on Friday, Jan. 20. He will look for another victory on Tuesday against Westside’s longtime rival Creighton Prep, where he hopes for another high energy, and a memorable win.