(SYRACUSE ATHLETICS) — Roy Simmons III, who has been an integral part of the Syracuse lacrosse program for most of his life, will retire, effective June 30. 

“For me, this job was always about my involvement with young people and the opportunity to mentor as well as coach them,” Simmons said.  “Those relationships have evolved into lifelong friendships that have continued across alumni of all generations of Syracuse lacrosse. While it’s now time to move on to another stage of my life in retirement, I’m forever grateful for the opportunity at Syracuse University.  I will always cherish the friendships I’ve made, the teams I’ve been part of and the program that it has become.” 

Simmons III is the third of four generations of the legendary lacrosse family that have coached and/or played for the Orange. Simmons’ retirement concludes a full century that at least one member of the family has been part of the Syracuse lacrosse program as either a player or staff member. In that time, the first family of ‘Cuse lacrosse, were part of 877 victories – more than all but one other program in NCAA DI lacrosse history. 

“The Simmons family has been a huge part of my career and their legacy that ties generations of Syracuse lacrosse players together is something that makes this program so special,” said head coach Gary Gait. “Roy III was an assistant coach during my playing career and it was an honor to have him on staff for my first year as head coach. He has been a key figure of Syracuse lacrosse in different roles over the years, helping build the tradition we have here, I wish him nothing but the best in retirement.” 

Simmons III had currently been serving as the team’s director of operations, where he managed player development, scheduling and was a liaison with all support staff departments, including academics, compliance, strength and conditioning and others. He also had stints as the team’s offensive and defensive coordinator in his more than 30 years on staff, including serving as the OC for the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Championship squads. While leading the offense, the squad finished second nationally in scoring offense in both seasons and Mike Leveille won the Tewaaraton under his watch. 

“Roy Simmons lll has made an indelible impact on our men’s lacrosse program,” said Director of Athletics John Wildhack. “He has served as mentor and role model to hundreds of Syracuse lacrosse players. Along with his father and grandfather, the Simmons family is not only the first family of Syracuse lacrosse, they’re the first family of college lacrosse. Roy III and his family will forever be part of our program.” 

Simmons III spent nine seasons leading the Orange defense as well – leading a unit that won NCAA titles in 2000, 2002 and 2004 in his years leading that unit (1999-2007). Under his watch, Marshall Abrams (2000) and John Glatzel (2002) each won the Schmeisser Award. He also coached 10 defensive All-Americans from 1999-07, including Abrams, Glatzel, Josh Ruhle, Joe Ceglia, Rob Mulligan, Billy St. George, Solomon Bliss, Scott Ditzell, Jay Pfeifer and Steve Panarelli. 

Simmons III’s current stretch with the team began in 1999, which was his third stint with the staff, when John Desko took over as head coach. Previously, Simmons coached under his father, Roy Simmons Jr., from 1982-86 and 1989-92. 

Simmons Jr. was the Orange coach from 1971-1998, where he had a Hall of Fame career and won six NCAA Championships. Before that, Roy Simmons Sr. spent 40 years (1931-70) at the helm of the program, winning 253 games and also finishing his career in the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame. 

Simmons III was a coach for eight of the program’s 11 NCAA titles. Between coaching stints, Simmons III also held jobs as a high school coach and guidance counselor in the Baldwinsville and Jamesville-Dewitt School Districts, and was also at one time the head lacrosse coach at Keuka College from 1986-88, helping found the program. 

A 1985 Syracuse University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, Simmons received his master’s degree in counselor education from SU in 1992. As a player, he lettered in lacrosse under his father from 1978-81 and played in two NCAA Tournaments. 

Simmons III and his wife Eileen have two sons.  Ryan, who spent five seasons with the Orange, finishing his career in 2018 as a team captain, and Roy IV, who captained and played lacrosse at Hartwick College. 

COURTESY OF SU ATHLETICS