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Thursday, March 15, 2007
Evansville hires Simmons as men's basketball coach

Associated Press

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Marty Simmons became men's basketball coach at Evansville on Thursday after leading Southern Illinois-Edwardsville for five years.

The 42-year-old played at Indiana and Evansville, and was an assistant coach for the Purple Aces in 1990-96 and in 1997-2002. He succeeds Steve Merfeld, who resigned this month after five years and a 54-91 record.

"Evansville has a very, very special place in my heart," Simmons said. "I feel fortunate to again be part of the Evansville basketball program, which has so much tradition and history. I look forward to locking arms with the current players so we can achieve success together."

The Aces were 14-17 this season, losing to Drake in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

Simmons led SIU-Edwardsville to a 88-59 record and was the Great Lakes Valley Conference coach of the year in 2004-05, when the Cougars reached the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in 15 years.

He played two years for Bob Knight at Indiana, then transferred after the 1985 season to Evansville, where he played for former IU assistant coach Jim Crews. As a senior, he finished sixth in the nation in scoring at 25.9 points a game. Simmons was inducted into the university's athletic hall of fame in 1997.

Simmons played one season for LaCrosse in the Continental Basketball Association and one season with the Illinois Express in the World Basketball League before returning to Evansville as an assistant.

"Marty Simmons is Evansville basketball," athletic director Bill McGillis said. "He represents the values, integrity and commitment to excellence that have exemplified our program throughout its history. Marty is an outstanding basketball coach, a proven winner and a very proud letterman."