Tulsa Eagles Softball: Tulsa Eagle Softball News
Tuesday, June 12
Dave Simmons, founder of Tulsa Eagles softball program, dies at 68
Dave Simmons: He founded the Tulsa Eagles Fastpitch program.
By TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Watching from the stands as his 8-year-old daughter's fast-pitch softball team endured yet another pounding, Dave Simmons prepared to make a pitch of his own.
As soon as the game was over, he found the coach and offered to help out.
"I asked the coach what was wrong with our team," which at one point in the contest had trailed 30 to 0, Simmons later told The Tulsa Tribune. "She said that she knew nothing about the sport and was looking for someone who did."
Simmons, an insurance agent, didn't know much either. But the coach accepted his offer of assistance.
Officially making his entry into the world of girls fast-pitch softball, Simmons went on to diligently teach himself the game.
He became a successful coach and later founded the Tulsa Eagles Fastpitch Softball program, making a name for himself both in Oklahoma and nationally in the amateur softball community.
During Simmons' tenure, Tulsa Eagles girls were awarded millions of dollars in softball scholarships to top universities and colleges nationwide.
This year's NCAA Women's Softball Tournament, which concluded last week, included 17 former Tulsa Eagles players competing for participating teams, including three with the University of Oklahoma, which finished as the runner-up.
David Abraham "Dave" Simmons, who was inducted into the Oklahoma Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame in 2010, died Wednesday. He was 68. A memorial service was held Sunday at Floral Haven Funeral Home in Broken Arrow.
"Surviving the pressure of playing for Dave in a national tournament game, with 400 college coaches looking on, the girls learn to expect the best out of themselves," said Vicki Eimen of Tulsa, who had three daughters play for Simmons, each of them earning Division I softball scholarships.
One of Simmons' gifts as a coach, Eimen said, was that he "coached each player to their potential and in a style that they each responded to. They didn't have to conform to him - he conformed to them and found a way to motivate each one."
Although based in Tulsa, the Eagles program under Simmons drew players from around the state and region.
It includes five teams ranging from age 10 and younger through 18 and younger, each coached by a staff handpicked by Simmons.
Tommy Rogers, who will take over for Simmons as coach of the Eagles' 18 and younger team for its remaining schedule, coached with Simmons for nearly 30 years.
"Everybody knows about Dave on the field, but he really taught the girls about stuff off the field, as well. He set them up to succeed down the road," Rogers said.
Noting that Simmons took a special interest in girls from very poor backgrounds, Nicole Simmons, his daughter and former player, added that no one "was refused a place on his team due to financial reasons. And many of them would never have gone to college if not for him."
"Dad was so much more than a softball coach," she added. "He really believed in the empowerment of women through sports and education."
She said it's the family's intention for the program to carry on as Simmons envisioned.
Simmons grew up in Calera and played basketball for Southeastern State University in Durant.
Among his softball coaching highlights, he previously coached the U.S. fastpitch team in the Pan Am games.
Survivors include his wife, Cherrie Simmons; two daughters, Nicole Simmons and Lyndie Fallen; and four grandchildren.
Original Print Headline: Softball coach taught Eagles to soar
Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/ourlives/article.aspx?subjectid=58&articleid=20120612_11_A11_CUTLIN214850
Monday, June 11
David Simmons passes away