Simmons considers retirement

May 29, 1995|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Syracuse lacrosse coach Roy Simmons Jr. will consider retirement after today's championship game with Maryland at Byrd Stadium.

Simmons, 58, said yesterday he will decide this summer if he will leave. Simmons is the leader among active coaches in wins with a record of 256-86 in 25 years at Syracuse.

He is second on the all-time wins list behind the late Dick Garber of Massachusetts, who had 300 wins.

"My decision is going to be made later this summer," said Simmons, the only coach to win five NCAA titles. "It's been a long year. My dad [former Syracuse coach Roy Simmons Sr.] died, my wife almost died from heart failure around Christmas and I caught double pneumonia in March.

"A lot of people have urged or told me to quit," said Simmons, an award-winning artist and former fine arts instructor at Syracuse. "I'm a person who has a lot of outside interests, and it's time to at least look at some of them."

Simmons' career at Syracuse goes back to the mid-1950s, when he was an All-America attackman in 1957 and 1958, playing with Jim Brown, the sport's all-time great.

He spent 11 years as an assistant with the Orangemen before replacing his father as the head coach in 1970. Simmons' teams are known for their run, gun and fun style, and he built the #F Orangemen into the team of the 1980s with a championship in 1983 and three straight from 1988 through 1990. Syracuse won the fifth in 1993.

Simmons said in March that, if he retired, he would recommend longtime assistant John Desko for the coaching position at Syracuse.

"I'm just not sure what I'm going to do," said Simmons, whose team is making a 13th straight Final Four appearance. "I've always said I would get out if I lost my rapport with the kids, but I've taken the pulse of the kids, and they can still relate to me.

"What I'm going to do is take the team to England this summer and run the camps I started in Scotland. Then I'm going to get more involved in my research and development for wheelchair lacrosse. After that, I don't know what I'm going to do. That's a problem. I don't have another job yet, so I just can't walk into the sunset tomorrow afternoon."

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