ELKINS - When the Tigers hit the hardwood next fall it will be under the guidance of a new head coach. At Tuesday's meeting, the Randolph County Board of Education selected Brandon Simmons to lead the boys varsity basketball program next season.
"I am very honored to be able to coach at the school I came up through," Simmons said. "The gymnasium is named after my grandfather and I hope I can live up to the greatness he brought to the program. Basketball is my passion. I love it and I can't get enough of it."
The Richard P. Simmons Memorial Gymnasium was named after his grandfather, who was the first athletic director at Elkins High School and, among other notable accomplishments, started the school's baseball program.
Brandon Simmons has served as an assistant basketball coach for the past three seasons. He spent his first season as an assistant to Roy Simms and the past two years helping John Lawson.
"We're going to have a young team," Simmons said. "John Lawson laid a good foundation. I learned a lot from him. I think he got us going in the right direction."
The Tigers will have two returning starters, Braden Hammond and Morgan Kelly, along with rising seniors Daniel Crawford, Trey Hutton, Darien Robles and Brandon Riffle.
"We have a lot of talent coming back," Simmons said. "A few of the guys already called me. They were pumped. It's good to know I got the support of the seniors."
Simmons graduated from Elkins in 2003. While in high school, he earned NCAC Player of the Year in 2003 for tennis. He's also the only Tiger to earn All State honors in tennis.
He graduated from Barton College in North Carolina and played on the tennis team. While there, he and his partner, Brent Ching, ranked No. 15 in the nation for Division II doubles.
Simmons has also served as the head coach for the tennis team for the past three years. He earned Big 10 tennis coach of the year twice, 2012 and 2014.
Brandon is the son of Dave and Donna Simmons. His father, Dave Simmons, served as head tennis coach at EHS and also played basketball for his father, Richard, and went on to play basketball at the Colorado School of Mines and for the All Marine Corps Basketball Team.