John Simon, a veteran of the NFL, and former motivational speaker, high school
coach and administrator, enters his first season as running backs coach.
A S S I S T A N T C O A C H
Simon spent the previous three seasons at Southern Miss before he was hired as the
wide receivers coach at Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 5.
“John has a familiarity with our system, knows what it takes to be successful, and
has learned from the best coaches in our business, including Joe Gibbs, Steve Spurrier,
Jeff Fischer, Hue Jackson, and Gary Crowton,” ASU head coach Todd Graham said
when he announced Simon’s appointment. “With his background as a high school coach
and administrator, John understands the importance of developing the character of our
young men, not only their athletic ability, and has shown a dedication to improving the
communities around him.”
Simon mentored a pair of 1,000-yard rushers at Southern Miss in 2015 and the Golden
Eagles were one of just five programs in the Football Bowl Division to have two running
backs collect at least 1,000 yards on the ground.
“I’m excited to be a part of the history and the culture here,” Simon said. “What
coach Graham stands for and what he has accomplished here in four years is what I want
to be a part of. Coach Graham believes in the complete student-athlete and that is what
I believe in, both on and off the field. He believes in building relationships with recruits,
parents and student-athletes. This is a natural fit for me, especially to be coaching running
backs. I am so thankful for the opportunity."
Under Simon’s tutelage, running backs Jalen Richard and Ito Smith combined for more
than 3,000 total yards, including 2,200 yards on the ground, and 29 total touchdowns
in 2015 en route to Conference USA first- and second-team honors, respectively. Smith
ranked 18th in the nation with 134 all-purpose yards per game in 2015. Simon also had a
knack for involving his running backs in the passing game as evidenced by the more than
800 combined receiving yards out of the backfield in 2015.
Simon was part of an offensive coaching staff that helped the Golden Eagles break
five major offensive single-season school records in 2015, and notch a 10-win season that
included a Conference USA West Division title and a berth in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas
Bowl against the University of Washington.
Simon spent three years in the National Football League, including the 2002 season
with the Tennessee Titans and 2003-04 season with the Washington Redskins.
Following his professional football career, Simon worked as a motivational speaker
geared toward at-risk youth through his non-profit organization I.M.A.G.E., which focused
on improving minority areas.
Prior to his time at USM, Simon spent five years (2008-12) in a variety of roles at
Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Dallas, including position coach, coordinator, head
coach, and athletics director. Simon began his coaching career as receivers coach at the
school in 2008 before he moved to the other side of the ball as the defensive coordinator
and secondary coach in 2009. He became the special teams coordinator, secondary coach,
and assistant athletics director in 2010, and was the interim head coach and athletics
director the following season. He made the move into administration full time in 2012 as
the school’s athletics director.
Simon has participated in the NFLPA Coaching Symposium and NFL-NCAA Coaches
Academy, and is active at numerous seminars across the country, including the THSCA
Coaches Convention and AFCA Coaches Convention.
Simon gained more than 4,800 all-purpose yards and caught a pass in a then-NCAA
record 36 consecutive games as a four-year starter at Louisiana Tech University from
1998 through 2001. He helped lead the Bulldogs to the program’s first Western Athletic
Conference Championship and bowl appearance in 11 years as a senior in in 2001. Simon,
who moved to wide receiver as a senior, received the 2001 Humanitarian Award at the
Humanitarian Bowl and was a recipient of the Louisiana Tech President’s Award.
Simon and his wife, Cecelia, have two children, John IV and James.
SUN DEVIL FOOTBALL 2016