Union High School now has new head basketball coaches in place for the 2012-13 season.
The Union R-XI school board officially approved the hiring of Grant Young and Christopher Simmons Monday night.
Young, a Union graduate, will take over the girls basketball position. Simmons, most recently a college assistant, will become the new boys basketball head coach.
Since graduating from Union, Young has run up a strong record as a small school coach.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring my experience and success as a coach back to my hometown. I look forward to meeting with the players and implementing my system with the Lady Wildcats basketball program,” Young said. “We want the community to come watch an exciting and intense brand of basketball these girls will put on the court over the upcoming years.”
Union Athletic director Chris Arand agrees.
“Coach Young will bring an exciting brand of basketball to Union that fans will enjoy watching,” said Arand. “He is a very bright, energetic, and highly successful coach, and we are very excited to have a proven winner in our program. Not only is he a great coach, but he is even a better person.”
Young most recently was at Purdy High School, where he led that team to a 73-17 record, one Class 2 state title, two district titles and three conference titles. He has twice been honored as the Class 2 coach of the year and has received two conference coach of the year awards there as well.
Young also served as the athletic director at Purdy. In addition to basketball, Young also has coached softball, baseball and golf.
Young started his coaching career at Wheatland High School, where he was athletic director and coached both the boys and girls basketball teams. In 2002, he led both teams to district titles. The boys team ended up making it to Columbia, finishing fourth in Class 1. He went 52-30 with the girls team and 76-64 on the boys side. The boys also earned two conference and two district titles to go along with a MSHSAA sportsmanship award.
After he was at Wheatland, Young went to Neosho, where he led that squad to a 38-17 record and its first-ever district title.
“We are very excited to get someone with Grant’s experience and success to take over our program,” Arand said.
Young replaces Jolene Smith, who resigned after the 2011-12 season.
“Coach Jolene Smith is leaving the program in great shape and we are looking forward to Coach Young to come in and do great things,” said Arand.
Selected to take over the Union boys program, Christopher Simmons will be taking his first high school varsity coaching job with Union.
“Coach Simmons comes to us with the highest recommendations from his former coaches and colleagues not only as a quality coach, but as a person of high moral character,” said Arand. “During our interview process, Christopher rose to the top as the person we believe that is the best person for the job. We believe that not only does he have the knowledge and skills to be great coach, but we also believe he has the ability to help build positive relationships and be a tremendous role model to our student athletes.”
Simmons, a Sedalia native, most recently was with Greenville College in Greenville, Ill., There, he ran the junior varsity program as well as assisting with the varsity team. He also worked with individual player development, strength and conditioning and directed summer camps.
Simmons is a graduate of Sacred Heart High School in Sedalia, where he played basketball. He played collegiately at William Jewell College and at Greenville College. He received all-conference and all-region honors at Greenville.
Simmons takes over for John Barnes, who was released from his coaching duties at the end of the 2011-12 season.
“We had a very outstanding group of candidates apply for this position and Christopher Simmons was the one who everyone felt was the right person for the job,” Arand said. “I talked with Coach Simmons after the board meeting last night and he is very excited to get started as soon as he can.”