Steve Simmons Named Head Men's Soccer Coach
June 26, 2009
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Steve Simmons, a former associate head coach at Oregon State who has served the last six seasons at the helm of the Northern Illinois men's soccer program, has been named OSU head men's soccer coach Director of Athletics Bob De Carolis announced on Friday.
"It is great to have a coach of Steve's caliber leading our program. His roots to the Pacific Northwest run deep and his love for OSU is sincere and true," De Carolis said. "He did an amazing job of building a successful program at NIU and with his familiarity of the Beavers and Corvallis he should be able to hit the ground running."
In six seasons at NIU, Simmons compiled a 59-47-13 record as he led the Huskies to a NCAA Men's Soccer Championship appearance following the 2006 season. After the conclusion of this past year, Simmons capped a five-year run in which the Huskies won 56 matches, a school-record for the most wins over a five-year span. During that five-year stretch, NIU won a Mid-American Conference Championship, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship and had players honored 24 times with All-MAC accolades.
"I want to thank Bob DeCarolis for providing me the opportunity to return home to Oregon State to guide the men's soccer program. It was going to take a special opportunity at a special place for me to leave Northern Illinois University and only OSU could fit the bill," Simmons said. "My family and I look forward to getting to know the players, reconnecting with the Corvallis community and making our Beaver Soccer alums proud."
Under his guidance, the Huskies reached at least10 wins in four of six seasons, including an 11-6-4 mark during the 2008 campaign in which NIU finished second in the MAC and advanced to the finals of the MAC Championship. In 2007, Simmons led NIU to a 7-9-4 mark as the Huskies advanced to the semifinals of the MAC Championship in addition to beating No. 9 Northwestern, 2-1, in double overtime.
Simmons' most outstanding professional recognition came after guiding his team to the 2006 Mid-American Conference Championship, when he was honored with the Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year Award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The honor made him Northern Illinois' first finalist for the NSCAA Coach of the Year Award. In addition, Simmons has twice been named the MAC Gary V. Palmisano Coach of the Year (2004, 2006).
Simmons earned the 2006 awards after his team achieved the best season in Huskie men's soccer history. NIU's first MAC Men's Soccer Champion, the team finished the season with a school-record 15 wins, including a perfect 9-0-0 mark at home, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship.
Simmons' defense-first philosophy led to the unprecedented success of the 2006 campaign. Goalkeeper Joe Zimka set an NCAA Division I record by allowing just 0.21 goals against per match, and the Huskies notched 14 shutouts, tied for the most in the country. The 15-win 2006 season saw the Huskies ranked as high as 19th on the NSCAA's Top-25, and punctuated an impressive three-year run in which the Huskies won 38 matches.
During the 2005 campaign, the Huskies rode a 736:31 shutout streak to a seven-match unbeaten run that peaked with a No. 22 national ranking as Northern Illinois finished as the runner-up in the MAC for the second straight season. It marked the first time the Huskies had finished in the top two in their conference in consecutive seasons since 1989-90.
In 2004, Simmons led Northern Illinois to an impressive 12-7-0 record as he was named MAC Coach of the Year. The Huskies won eight more games in 2004 than the year before, the nation's second-best turnaround. Under Simmons guidance, Curt Zastrow with Freshman of the Year honors while five other NIU players were named to All-MAC teams.
The foundation for Simmons' reconstruction efforts can be traced back to 2003, his first season at NIU. Faced with a program slowed by graduation and injuries, Simmons utilized a line-up with six freshmen. The Huskies won three contests in 2003, including MAC wins over Marshall and Buffalo, and lost nine matches by a single goal.
Prior to his arrival at NIU, Simmons spent two seasons as associate head coach for Oregon State, where he worked with defenders and goalkeepers under former Beaver coach Dana Taylor. His teaching was evident in 2002 when OSU climbed to No. 18 in the national polls during a nine-week run in the top-25. Oregon State earned its first trip to the NCAA College Cup as part of a 13-8-0 campaign that was highlighted by victories over No. 6-rated California and No. 12 Tulsa.
Simmons moved to Corvallis after a successful five-year stint as head men's and women's coach at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. He took over a men's program coming off a 1-15-0 campaign in 1995 and built the Wildcats into a successful program. After an 8-11-0 debut in 1996 and a 7-12-1 mark in 1997, his team reached double digits in victories for the first time with a 10-10-0 record in 1998. Simmons' team followed that up with 12-7-1 record in 1999, and made a trip to the 2000 Final Four, where a loss to the eventual national champion ended a 21-1-1 season.
Simmons began his coaching career as an assistant at Gonzaga University in 1994 and gained his first head coaching post the following summer at Division III Whitworth College (Spokane, Wash.). His 9-8-2 record that year gave him Northwest Conference Coach of the Year honors and led to his move to fellow Northwest Conference member Linfield. With the Wildcats, he gained his second NWC Coach of the Year plaque in 2000. Between Linfield and Whitworth, Simmons compiled a head coaching record of 67-49-5 (.574).
As a collegian, Simmons netted first-team All-America honors from the National Christian College Athletic Association as well as NAIA Academic All-America recognition as a senior at Concordia University-Portland. He was a two-time (1988, 1989) NAIA Northwest All-Region selection and gained Concordia's Male Athlete of the Year Award in 1990 before earning a spot on the school's Athletics Wall of Fame in 1993.
A graduate of Chugiak High School in Eagle River, Alaska, Simmons completed a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Concordia in June, 1990. He was awarded his master of arts in physical education from Gonzaga in 1996.
Simmons is married to the former Maria Ballantyne of Salem, Ore. The couple has three children: sons Keagan, 12, and Jordan, 7, and daughter, Katey, 10.
Simmons becomes the third head coach in Oregon State men's soccer history as he replaces Taylor, who resigned earlier this year to become head coach at Cal State Stanislaus.