STANDISH, ME – The Saint Joseph's College Athletic Department is pleased to announce that legendary coach Rick Simonds has been added as an assistant on the men's basketball coaching staff.
Simonds, a 2010 Saint Joseph's College Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, served as the Monks' men's basketball head coach for 23 seasons and posted an astounding 466-176 (.726) record with 11 conference titles and six national tournament appearances.
Monks Head Coach Rob Sanicola '99, who served as an assistant on Simonds' staff for four seasons (2000-03) and played under his tutelage for four seasons (1996-99), is pleased to add one of his coaching mentors to his staff.
"When coach and I first discussed this opportunity, there were many reasons - in my mind - why it made sense for Coach Simonds to return to our bench and this was an easy decision on my behalf," adds Coach Sanicola. "Coach Simonds has the experience, enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge to offer the program. Besides my father, he was the most influential person in developing my coaching philosophy," Sanicola says.
Under Simonds, who garnered 15 Coach of the Year honors during his career, the Monks posted thirteen 20-win seasons, including five straight from 1995-1999. When he left St. Joe's following the 2002-03 campaign, his winning percentage ranked as the seventh-best in NCAA DIII Men's Basketball history and his wins total is currently 49th among DIII head coaches. Simonds never suffered a losing season and ranks as the most successful head coach in Saint Joseph's College Athletics history.
"We always look to surround our players and staff with the essence of success," Coach Sanicola continues. "With Coach Simonds being a part of our day-to-day operations of the Saint Joseph's College basketball program again, he will be able to share his success at our practices, coaching staff meetings and especially on game day. I cannot be happier that he has decided to return to the basketball program here at Saint Joseph's."
Simonds' crowning achievement came in 1987 when the Monks astounded the basketball world at the NAIA National Championship in Kansas City by upsetting Biola College, which was ranked third in the country with a 29-1 record at the time. The national tourney win was the first of its kind for an NAIA New England program.
Returning to Saint Joseph's also provides Coach Simonds with an opportunity to coach his son, sophomore guard Steve Simonds (Steep Falls, Maine), at the collegiate level.
Simonds, who worked as the Athletic Director at Saint Joseph's for 23 years, graduated from University of Southern Maine in 1972 with an English degree. While at USM, Simonds earned nine varsity letters as a three-sport standout (basketball, baseball and soccer) and is a member of the Huskies' Hall of Fame. He was also enshrined in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Simonds currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Bonny Eagle High School and serves as a color announcer for the Maine Red Claws, an NBA Development League of the Boston Celtics. He is also an accomplished author who has published a pair of crime novels.
"I'm very excited to be back at SJC in whatever capacity Rob feels can best help the program," adds Coach Simonds. "I have a commitment to the Red Claws, but there are very few conflicts and to be able to be back where I have so many happy memories is special."
Saint Joseph's College, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy, celebrates its Centennial year in 2012 with a theme of "Realize the Promise" – honoring our commitment to educating well-rounded graduates who combine career focus with classic liberal arts studies. A Private, Catholic, primarily residential, coeducational liberal arts institution, Saint Joseph's welcomes students of all ages and all faiths. The campus, located 18 miles northwest of Portland and just two hours from Boston, encompasses 350 acres along the shore of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. Enrollment ranges between 1,000 and 1,100 students annually. Saint Joseph's offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing and business fields in a value-centered environment.