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Local coaches react to Coach Simms’ death

November 19, 2012
By Andrew Davis Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

The passing of local sports legend Roy Simms Saturday prompted an outpouring of praise and respect from local coaches.

Simms, 52, who was in his first year as an assistant men's basketball coach

at Davis & Elkins, died Saturday afternoon after collapsing during a practice.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Andrew Davis
Former Elkins High School star athlete and coach Roy Simms passed away on Saturday. Simms was currently an assistant men’s basketball coach at Davis &?Elkins.

The Senator basketball team met Saturday night and gathered with a minister at the chapel on campus.

"After this happened, our team is becoming very close, like a family, "Davis & Elkins coach Bruce Martin said. "The kids are keeping their heads and are taking things pretty well."

"He definitely will be missed," Davis & Elkins player Josh Wamsley said. "He really encouraged our team and always did things to try and help out our team."

Davis & Elkins was scheduled to play the University of Charleston Tuesday, but the game likely will be postponed until a later date.

Simms, who was a standout athlete at Elkins High School and played college basketball at the University of Detroit, was the head basketball coach at Elkins High School the last two seasons.

Simms guided the Tigers in his first season to a 15-11 record and a loss in the regional final.

In his second year, Elkins finished with a 7-15 mark and lost in the sectional championship.

"I really enjoyed him when he was the coach at Elkins," EHS athletic director Todd Price said. "His passion was the game of basketball and he would do anything for the kids. He will be missed."

Buckhannon-Upshur coach Eli Gurash formed a friendship with Simms last season.

"We became good friends last year," Gurash said. "He was really friendly and even helped me out even though we were a rival school. We had some good conversations even when we were off the basketball court."

Philip Barbour coach Marcus Johnson also became friends with Simms during the last few years.

"Roy really was a good coach and he really helped the kids out," Johnson said. "He always had good things to say and also commented on how well our program was doing."

When Simms was not coaching, he kept busy taking kids to different athletic camps and planning activities for youth around Elkins, including bringing in the Harlem Legends basketball squad last season.

"I have known Roy since he was a teenager," Tygarts Valley coach Tom Wamsley said. "He always brought in new ideas for the community. He always loved the kids and helping the kids."

"I really enjoyed helping Roy when he put on the different activities," Josh Wamsley added. "I learned a lot from helping him, especially with the Harlem Legends."

Simms learned over the summer he was in need of a heart and kidney transplant.

Simms was in the process of raising money for his transplant. West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins attended a benefit dinner for Simms in October that raised close to $50,000 dollars.



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