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Simons and Mulligan honored as coaches of the year
May 23, 2023
Head basketball coach Jim Simons and girls wrestling coach Bob Mulligan were recognized with the Harley and Beth Schrager Outstanding Coach Awards. The two coaches were honored at the Coaches Night of Distinction and Athletic Hall of Fame Induction banquet on Friday, May 5. Simons led the boys basketball team to the state semifinals and Mulligan led the girls wrestling team to a runner-up finish at the state tournament. Mulligan was also an assistant coach for the state championship football team and reserve baseball team.
Coach Simons recorded his 100th victory at Westside in his sixth season, which is the fastest any basketball coach has done in school history. Simons spoke about how he felt about receiving the Schrager award.
“It is an honor to be recognized as coach of the year, especially considering the high level of respect I have for the outstanding coaches who have won the award previously,” Simons said. “The award is symbolic of a lot of work done by a great group of players and assistant coaches. The success our program has had over the past few years is certainly not due to myself. I’ve tried to work hard to play my role to the best of my ability but it wouldn’t be possible without all of the hard work and determination of everyone who has been involved in our program.”
Simons also spoke about what it has been like to be a coach at Westside for the past two decades.
“I’ve been the head basketball coach for six years and have coached at Westside for over 20 years, previously serving as an assistant coach in both basketball and baseball before assuming the head coaching role,” Simons said. “I love coaching at Westside. The support from the administration and community is second to none and I’ve been fortunate to coach so many great young men who are very good basketball players. It’s been a lot of fun for me.”
Mulligan came to Westside High School seven years ago as a volunteer. He has coached freshman football, wrestling and reserve baseball. Coach Mulligan spoke about his feelings after receiving the award.
“The award means a lot to me to be recognized as an outstanding coach in the building,” Mulligan said. “I feel like I put a lot of time and effort and you know, time away from family and time on the weekends that could be spent doing other things, putting into the student athletes in the school. So it kind of feels really good to be recognized for that.”
Mulligan became the girls head wrestling coach, when the NSAA sanctioned the sport two years ago. Mulligan spoke about his experience of coaching three different sports at Westside.
“’I’ve coached baseball for seven, football for five and wrestling for five,” Mulligan said. “Being a coach is everything like, I don’t know if I’d be working in a school system if it wasn’t for coaching, you know, giving back to the community and providing athletes with some of the stuff that I wish I would have had, coaching wise growing up. And being able to share my love of sports with the athletes at Westside is super important to me. My favorite part of being a coach is just seeing all the success on and off the field or court or the wrestling mats that you see so you, know you as coaches, fans always see like the successes or the wins or the losses, but coach is the only one to really see the journey and know you, the backgrounds of what kids are going through on a regular basis. So, as a coach, you’re more than just a coach you know, you’re you’re a fan you’re sometimes a therapist, you’re a counselor, a teacher, kind of seeing a lot of adversity and stuff that kids go through seeing their successes from that as my favorite part.”
Both Simons and Mulligan will return next year with their state qualifying teams in the winter. This was the 21st year for the Schrager coaching awards.