April 27, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State women's basketball head coach Suzy Merchant announced today the hiring of Mark Simons as an assistant coach. Simons has been involved in collegiate basketball coaching for over 35 years, most recently, being as assistant coach at Auburn University for the last four seasons.
"We are thrilled to welcome Mark Simons to Michigan State," said Merchant. "Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our program with a successful basketball career of over 35 years. His background as a head coach, a BCS assistant and within the WNBA will make an immediate impact at MSU. Additionally, he is a Spartan graduate and Michigan native which makes this opportunity even more special."
"I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with Suzy Merchant and the program she has developed at Michigan State," said Simons. "Suzy has incredible energy and passion for the game, and her vision for her program makes you want to be a part of something special. For me personally, I'm fortunate to be able to come back to Michigan State, a place I've always loved."
At Auburn, Simons worked primarily with the Tiger post players, while also assisting with game management and scheduling. Auburn had two postseason appearances during his time, including a trip to the NCAA Second Round in 2009, a season where it went 30-4 and won the SEC regular season title for the first time in 20 years. It was his second stint with the Tigers, also coaching the second half of the 2005-06 season.
Since 2008, Simons has been an advance scout for the WNBA's Washington Mystics.
Surrounding his two stays at Auburn, Simons spent two years at Georgia Tech, the last as the Associate Head Coach. Both seasons the Yellow Jackets advanced to the NCAA Tournament and won at least 20 games, including a then-program best 22 wins in 2007-08. It also marked the first time in program history that the team played in back-to-back NCAAs, including winning its first NCAA game in 2007.
Prior to moving into the women's basketball coaching circle, Simons was the head men's basketball coach at Elon University in Elon, N.C. He was the head coach at Elon for 10 seasons (1993-2003), helping transition the program to the Division I level beginning in 1997. His tenure was highlighted by a trip the NCAA Division II Tournament in 1997, after leading the Phoenix to the South Atlantic Conference Tournament title.
Simons also held head coach positions at Georgia College & State University from 1991-93 and St. Andrews College from 1986-91 prior to moving over to Elon. While at St. Andrews, where he was also the athletic director, Simons was named both the 1988 South Region and Dixie Conference Coach of the Year, and the 1990 Carolinas Conference Coach of the Year.
Before becoming a head coach, Simons was an assistant coach at Saginaw Valley State for 10 seasons (1976-86) and at his alma mater, Aquinas College for one year (1975-76).
A native of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., Simons was a four-year letterwinner at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich. from 1968-72. While coaching at SVSU, Simons earned a master's degree from Michigan State in 1977. He has three children - a son, Adam, and two daughters, Katie and Molly - and a granddaughter, Ellie.
Simons replaces Shane Clipfell, who was named head women's basketball coach at Western Michigan on April 13, on the Spartan staff.