The college football coaching carousel is still going, and Willie Simmons may or may not be getting on the ride.
Reports circulated on social media Saturday afternoon that the Florida A&M head coach had been offered the running back coach position at the University of South Carolina.
Simmons spoke with HBCU Gameday’s Vaughn Wilson and didn’t say he was leaving, but he didn’t say he was staying either.
“Just talked to coach Willie Simmons and he’s confused as to how this whole thing started,” Wilson said. “He said he has one focus right now which is signing day and getting his team ready for their debut and his return to the SWAC.”
A source near to Simmons tells HBCU Gameday that he isn’t denying the job offer. Also, further credible information all but suggests that Simmons is being courted by the SEC school.
New head coach Shane Beamer is looking to complete his staff, including a running backs coach. Des Kitchings was retained when Beamer took over for Will Muschamp in Columbia. He is headed to the Atlanta Falcons, despite recently being approved for a $120k raise from the Board of Trustees.
Simmons’ current FAMU deal, signed in 2018, is worth $300,000. That’s the same amount of money Kitchgings was making before his raise was approved. If Simmons was to take the position coach job at South Carolina, he’d likely be looking at a sizeable rase.
Simmons has had success in his short stint at FAMU. He led the program to a 9-2 finish in 2019, the best record in the MEAC. FAMU was not named MEAC champion due to postseason penalties from a previous administration, however. He served as head coach at Prairie View for three seasons prior to coming to Tallahassee, which was preceded by a stint as an assistant at Alcorn State.
Simmons is no stranger to FBS football, however. He started his college career at Clemson University before finishing it at the Citadel. He also wouldn’t be the first MEAC head coach to leave for a position coach position in the FBS, either. Jerry Mack left North Carolina Central after four winning seasons and two MEAC titles to take over as offensive coordinator at Rice following the 2017 season.