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Mike Simmonds is in his fifth year at North Texas as the offensive line coach.
The North Texas offensive line under Simmonds continued to put up big rushing totals in 2014. The Mean Green rushed for over 200-yards on three different occasions and NT has run for over 300-yards now seven times in the last four seasons.
The Mean Green ran for 21 touchdowns in 2014, which is tied for the eighth most in school history.
Simmonds also coached Cyril Lemon, who will go down as one of the best lineman in school history, to his fourth straight all-conference honor in 2014. Lemon, who started all 49 games he played in at NT, the second-most in school history, was a first-team all-C-USA pick in 2014. Lemon was the only player in the nation to earn four straight all-conference honors and start 49 straight games.
Simmonds trademark physical style once again paved the way for record breaking success for North Texas in the 2013 season. The Mean Green rushed for over 300-yards three times in 2013, which is the most in a single season since 1959. NT has finished the season with 2,349 rushing yards for the season, which were the eighth most rushing yards in a single season in school history.
Under Simmonds, the Mean Green offensive line once again was one of the best in the nation in protecting the quarterback. The Mean Green offensive line for the second straight season ranked in the top-10 in the nation for fewest sacks allowed. NT allowed only 11 sacks in 2013, which ranked seventh in the nation. Since 2012, the North Texas offensive line has allowed the fewest sacks in the nation with just 17.
Running back Brandin Byrd rushed for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career in 2013 led by all-conference lineman Cyril Lemon and Mason Y’Barbo. Lemon was named first-team all-C-USA while Y’Barbo earned second-team honors.
In 2012, Simmonds’s offensive line helped pave the way for the school’s third 2,000-yard rushing season in the last four years.
In addition, the Mean Green offensive line led the nation in allowing the fewest sacks in 2012 with only six sacks given up. Last season, the North Texas offensive line gave up no sacks in nine of 12 games.
The Mean Green had three running backs rush for over 500 yards for the first time in school history. The Mean Green rushed for 2,102 yards on the year, which was the 15th most in school history and the third-most since 2004.
Along with the rushing totals, Simmonds helped produce three all-conference selections on the offensive line. Center Aaron Fortenberry, guards Cyril Lemon and Mason Y’Barbo each earned all-conference honors. Fortenberry was a first-team all-conference pick while Lemon was selected for the second straight season. In three seasons, Simmonds has had seven all-conference honorees.
In 2011, Simmonds’s offensive line paved the way for Lance Dunbar’s record breaking year that saw the running back become the all-time leading rusher and set a school record for rushing yards in a game with 313.
The offensive line also produced two all-conference player in Matt Tomlinson and Cyril Lemon. Lemon was the only true freshman in the league to be on one of the three all-conference teams in the Sun Belt. He is the first freshman offensive lineman to earn all-conference honors at North Texas since 2000.
Lemon is just the second freshman offensive lineman to earn all-conference honors in Sun Belt history. Tomlinson was a first-team all-conference pick, the first of his career.
Simmonds joined the Mean Green after a one-year stint as the offensive line coach at Indiana State in 2010.
Simmonds was the offensive line coach at South Florida from 2007-09, where he was on the staff with McCarney and North Texas offensive coordinator Mike Canales. He coached the offensive line at his alma mater Indiana State during the 2010 season.
Behind the 2008 offensive line, the South Florida offense was on the cusp of many program records. USF led the Big East in total offense (405.0 yards per game) and ranked second in scoring offense (27.6). The rushing offense averaged 165.4 yards per game, good for third in the conference.
A graduate of Indiana State University, where he started 46 games and earned I-AA All-America honors, Simmonds was chosen in the 10th round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Simmonds played four seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman with Tampa Bay and San Diego.
He started for the Bucs at offensive guard in 1989, once earning NFL Offensive Lineman of the Week in a game against Chicago. He signed as a Plan B Free Agent with San Diego in 1990. Simmonds is a 2007 inductee into the Indiana State Hall of Fame for his exploits on the field as a Sycamore.
He played his high school football for Belleville (IL) before enrolling at Indiana State, where his teams reached the I-AA Playoffs in 1983 and 1984.
Since his playing days ended, Simmonds has been named to the Gateway Conference all-decade team (1980s) and the Gateway Conference 20th Anniversary Team, in addition to earning induction into the Indiana State Hall of Fame.
Simmonds and his wife, Jamie (Whiting) have three daughters, Amanda, Lauren and Emily.