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John Simon, a veteran of the NFL, and former motivational speaker, high school

coach and administrator, enters his first season as running backs coach.

JOHN

SIMON

A S S I S T A N T C O A C H

RUNNING BACKS

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.

67

MEDIA GUIDE

SUN DEVIL FOOTBALL 2016