T-Bird Tribune: Todd Simon and Rebuilding the Brand

I can imagine the rebuilding process has been tough for Todd Simon.

Coach Simon was well-known in basketball circles before he came to Southern Utah. Everywhere he’s been, he’s had a lot of success.

He was the head coach of one of the most successful high school basketball programs in the nation, Findlay Prep, where he coached a ton of guys that are now in the NBA. He eventually joined the basketball staff at UNLV where he helped recruit some of the best classes in the country until they made him their interim-head coach in 2016.

He became Head Coach of SUU in March 2016. He inherited a team that only won six games the year before. Simon promised to make an early impact while rebuilding the program. Winning isn’t an easy task for any coach in the country, let alone one trying to rebuild at the same time.

But Coach Simon has been true to his word and nothing less than great.

Coach Simon’s first season was the 2016-2017 campaign where, with an almost brand-new roster, he led SUU to six victories, including two wins over rival NAU and the school’s first ever win in the Big Sky Tournament. The next season, SUU won 14 games and the team made a trip to the semifinals of the Big Sky Tournament.

But aside from working to establish a winning culture, Coach Simon has also brought in some amazing players during his short amount of time here.

Through three years of being at Southern Utah, Coach Simon and his staff have brought in a number of outstanding players. Transfer students like Jamal Aytes from BYU, Jadon Cohee from Seattle, Dwayne Morgan from UNLV, Andre Adams from Arizona State, David N’Diaye from Illinois State, Jason Richardson from Cal State Northridge and his most recent signing, Jakolby Long from Iowa State.

That winning culture and his attraction of other talent is what inspired me to transfer to SUU from Boise State.

It’s almost unheard of for a school this size, without much of a basketball history, to have this many quality players, but Coach Simon has found a way to bring these players in.

And that’s not even mentioning all the talented recruits they’ve brought in like Dre Marin, Jacob Calloway, Ivan Madunic and this year’s group of freshmen, who might just end up being the best freshman class in the history of the program.

Coach Simon and his staff have worked players hard to make sure all of their individual talent will translate to more success on the court. I should know, having spent a year in practice with him. I think we’re ready to compete, and this upcoming year promises to be an exciting one.

So, while we’re still working to establish ourselves as serious contenders in the Big Sky, the rebuilding process isn’t so much in the rebuilding phase anymore. The fans, the players and the coaches expect nothing less than a Big Sky Championship. This year, we have the team to do it.

All thanks to Coach Simon.

Story by: Cameron Oluyitan for SUU News
Photo by: SUU Athletics Strategic Communication