McNeese State Men's Basketball Camps
Throughout his eight seasons as the head coach of the McNeese State Cowboys, Dave Simmons has etched his name not only in the McNeese record book but also the Southland Conference history guide.
In 2012-13, Simmons coached the Cowboys to a Southland Conference first when his team defeated Sam Houston State 59-58 in overtime on Feb. 7. That win marked the 300th conference win for the Cowboys – the first league team in history to reach the milestone.
Also last season, Simmons became just the fourth head coach in school history to reach the 100-win milestone at McNeese after a 91-88, double-overtime victory at Nicholls State in the regular season finale on March 9.
And two years ago, Simmons did something for McNeese State that no other head coach in school history has ever done – take his teams to national postseason tournaments in back-to-back years (2011 National Invitational Tournament and the 2012 CollegeBasketballInsider.com tourney.
That kind of production led to the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches to award Simmons the Tommy Joe Eagles Memorial Award as the state’s major college coach of the year two years straight in 2011 and 2012.
In the 2010-11 season, Simmons guided the Cowboys to their first Southland Conference regular season championship since the 2001-02 season, and led the team into the National Invitational Tournament where it hosted Boston College, and last season, he led the Pokes to their second straight conference tournament title game appearance and later took part in the CollegeInsider.com tournament. McNeese did make back-to-back postseason appearances in 2000-01 (NIT) and 2001-02 (NCAA) but that was under two different head coaches (Ron Everhart and Tic Price).
The 20-win season Simmons’ Cowboys produce in 2010-11 was also the first for the school in nine years and the 15-2 home record was one of the very best. McNeese knocked on the 20-win door once again last year where the 17-win season saw four games where the Cowboys came up short by four points or less.
Simmons has hit some high spots during his career at McNeese, both as head coach and assistant coach. As a former assistant at McNeese (in the late 1980s on the staff of Steve Welch), the Cowboys won the league’s tournament title and participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
He earned the SLC coach of the year honor as well as that for the state of Louisiana in 2011 and was also named the district coach of the year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
He’s now 101-116 in seven seasons with the Cowboys and is 128-145 in nine seasons overall.
Simmons was also on the staffs at Northwestern State and Louisiana Tech when those two teams won league titles and played in the NCAA tournament, and an assistant at Delta State when it played post season.
He was an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech when the team went to the NIT Final Four and made two NCAA appearances. He was an assistant at Delta State when it won 24 games and appeared in the Division II Final Four and he was an assistant at Northwestern State when the Demons won back-to-back league crowns, participated in the NCAA and gave the SLC a first round NCAA victory for the first time since the 1980s.
During a 29-year career Simmons has coached more than 20 players who have gone on to play in the professional ranks including Karl Malone.
He is a member of the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame, having been inducted for his playing career at Louisiana Tech and he is one of the few current collegiate head coaches in the nation who scored more than 1,500 points during their playing careers.
At Tech he was the team captain and team MVP and in 1981 ranked fifth in the nation in free throw shooting. He still holds the school record for free throw accuracy in a single season and for career free throw accuracy.
A native of DeRidder, he and his wife Elaine Marie have three children, Desmond, David and Deon.
“When you get a guy of Dave’s work ethics and beliefs, you’ve made an excellent choice. Dave knows what it takes to be successful.”
NBA Hall of Famer
“Coach Simmons’ positive attitude and optimistic outlook is contagious. He has a unique ability to teach and develop young people through basketball.”
NBA Hall of Famer
“Coach Simmons is a positive thinker whose attitude is contagious and he’s a guy who loves to teach the game.”
Northwestern State University - Men’s Basketball Coach