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Steve Simmons enters his fourth season as the head coach of the Oregon State men's soccer program returning nearly his entire starting lineup while adding a highly regarded class of incoming recruits.
Simmons has won 20 games in his first three seasons, including a 9-6-3 record in his first year when the Beavers compiled a 5-4-1 Pac-10 record to finish second, their highest finish in conference play since 2002.
That season saw the best player in school history, Danny Mwanga, lead the Pac-10 in goals scored to earn several All-America honors and become the first Oregon State player to be named Pac-10 Player of the Year. He was also selected No. 1 overall in the MLS SuperDraft by the Philadelphia Union to become just the second Oregon State student-athlete to be drafted first in their respective sport, joining Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker who was selected No. 1 overall in the Los Angeles Rams in 1963.
After a posting a 6-11-0 mark in 2010, Simmons' 2011 squad went 5-11-2, but compiled a 3-6-1 conference mark to finish tied for fourth in the ultra-competitive Pac-12. Showing steady improvement, the 2011 group swept the Bay Area schools in a single weekend for the first time in eight years, notched its first back-to-back Pac-12 wins since 2009 and its first overtime win in two seasons.
Emery Welshman continued the strong lineage of potent OSU strikers in Simmons' third season at the helm of the Beaver program. In 2011, the junior transfer led the team in nearly every offensive category and tied an Oregon State record by notching an assist in five consecutive games. His seven assists (T7th) and 61 shots (6th) both etched his name in the single-season Beaver record books. At the conclusion of his first year in Corvallis, Welshman became just the fifth player in Oregon State history to earn a spot on the conference's first team, joining current professionals Mwanga (2009), Robbie Findley (2004-05), Ryan Johnson (2004-05) and Alan Gordon (2002-03).
Several Oregon State men's soccer players have also excelled in the classroom in the first three years under Simmons as 12 student-athletes have earned Pac-10/12 All-Academic honors, including John Swenson, Jake Parker, Josh Smith and Travis Anderson, who have all been selected to the First Team. The Beavers had eight student-athletes earn spots on the Pac-12 All-Academic Team in 2011, including a conference-leading four on the first team. Anderson was also the first Beaver men's soccer player in three years to be named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team when he received the distinction in 2011. Anderson, Parker and Swenson were also named NSCAA Scholar All-West Region that same year.
Prior to arriving at Oregon State, Simmons compiled a 59-47-3 record in six seasons as the head coach at Northern Illinois. In his final five years there, the Huskies won 56 matches, the most-ever in a five-year span in school history, won the Mid-American Conference Championship, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and had 24 players honored with All-MAC accolades. The Huskies won at least 10 games in four of his seasons and also defeated No. 9 Northwestern, 2-1, in double-overtime.
Simmons was named the 2006 Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and was the first finals for the NSCAA Coach of the Year in school history. He was also twice honored as the MAC Gary V. Palmisano Coach of the Year.
His 2006 campaign at NIU was the best in school history as the team won a school-record 15 games, including a 9-0-0 mark at home, won the school's first-ever MAC Championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship. Goalkeeper Joe Zimka set an NCAA Division I record by allowing just 0.21 goals-per-match and recorded 14 shutouts, tied for the most in the nation. The Huskies were also ranked as high as No. 19 by the NSCAA.
Prior to his arrive at Northern Illinois, Simmons spent two season as associate head coach with Oregon State under head coach Dana Taylor. During his stint, the Beavers climbed to No. 18 in the national polls in 2002 and earned the school's first trip to the NCAA College Cup that was highlighted by victories over No. 6 California and No. 12 Tulsa for a 13-8-0 record.
Simmons moved to Corvallis after a successful five years as the head coach of both the men's and women's soccer programs at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. He took over a men's team that went 1-15-0 in 1995 to lead them to three seasons with double-figure wins, including a 21-1-1 mark in 2000 when the team advanced to the Final Four before losing to the eventual national champion.
He began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater, Concordia University-Portland, in 1990 and went to Gonzaga University in 1994 as an assistant coach before earning his first head coaching position the following year at Division III Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash. Simmons led Whitworth to a 9-8-2 record in his first season to earn Northwest Conference Coach of the Year honors before moving on to Linfield.
As a collegian at Concordia, Simmons netted first-team All-America honors from the National Christian College Athletic Association and NAIA Academic All-America recognition as a senior. He was a two-time NAIA Northwest All-Region selection and was honored with Concordia's Male Athlete of the Year Award in 1990 and was selected to the school's Athletics Wall of Fame in 1993.
A graduate of Chugiak High School in Eagle River, Alaska, Simmons earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Concordia in 1990. He received a Master of Arts in Physical Education from Gonzaga in 1996.
Simmons and his wife, Maria, reside in Corvallis with their three children, Keagan, Jordan and Katey.