Douglas High School’s search for a new head football coach ended Thursday afternoon when the Marshall County Board of Education approved the hiring of Don Simmons to lead the Eagles program.
Simmons, 62, built a hall-of-fame worthy resume in Kansas before retiring and spending the last five years in Arkansas. He comes to Douglas from Piggott, Arkansas, where he spent last season as offensive coordinator.
Simmons served 34 years as a head football coach in Arkansas and Kansas. He has 199 wins and won a Kansas state championship in 1990. He has coached teams to 24 winning seasons, and his teams have made 20 state playoff appearances.
“When you have someone apply for a position who has put up hall-of-fame type numbers, you cannot help but be excited to talk with them,” Douglas Principal Patrick Smith said.
The DHS search committee featured Marshall County Schools Athletic Director/Assistant Superintendent Alan Garner, Douglas Middle School Principal Scott Bonds, DHS Assistant Principal Brian Sauls, DHS Assistant Principal Jennifer Morrison and Smith.
“Our committee was incredibly impressed when we had a chance to speak with Coach Simmons,” Smith said. “His experience, record of success and demeanor made a huge impact on our committee. Coach Simmons’ track record of building programs really is incredible.
“I had the opportunity to speak with his former principal in Paragould, Arkansas, who talked at length about not only Coach Simmons’ knowledge of football, but all of the extra things he was willing to do in the school.
“Everything from being at school extra early to greet students at the front door of the school when they arrived to volunteering to work with special needs students.
“We obviously want to win football games, but we also want to instill a great work ethic and a sense of duty to others in our students. We want our student-athletes to show great character in everything they do. We feel like Coach Simmons will do a great job in helping to instill these values in his players.”
The first task at hand for Simmons will be to meet with players, parents and assistant coaches. Summer workouts are currently going on at DHS.
Simmons will move to the Douglas community over the next couple of weeks. Smith said the new coach hopes to be relocated to the area by July 7.
“Coaching searches are extremely difficult,” Smith said. “We understand that the community wants someone in place as soon as possible, but we also want to make sure that we take proper care to get the best coach possible for our students.
“I am especially proud of our assistant football coaches for the initiative they have taken this summer with the absence of a head coach, with not only summer workouts, but also field maintenance and care of facilities. This is an incredibly hard-working group of guys.
“I am extremely optimistic for the future of Douglas High School football and have no doubt that Coach Simmons will make a huge positive impact on our program.”