Now in his eighth season at the helm of the Miami University baseball program, head coach Dan Simonds has seen the RedHawks continue their winning tradition. They have won 30 or more games in 14 of the last 16 years, while Simonds is one of only five Miami baseball coaches with at least 100 career wins. He joined the century club in 2009 with a 6-1 win over Cincinnati, but his biggest win may have come on March 9, 2007, when he led Miami to a 6-2 upset of No. 13 Texas in Austin.
Simonds has led the RedHawks to a .500 record or better in six of his seven years, guiding them to a berth in the Mid-American Conference Tournament every year by one. The Boston native has coached 16 Major League Baseball draft picks during his tenure in Oxford, with three of those reaching the major leagues, including 2010 pick Adam Eaton. Five of his players were selected in the top 10 rounds.
Under Simonds' watch, Miami has produced 16 All-MAC selections, including nine first-teamers, and three All-Mideast Region honorees. Last year, freshman Matt Honchel earned MAC Freshman of the Year, first-team all-conference, all-region and Freshman All-America honors. In 2010, Adam Eaton became just the second RedHawk to repeat as an All-Midwest Region selection.
Off the field, 11 players have been Academic All-MAC honorees, including 2009 Miami co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year Matt Erwood and 2010 selection Jon Edgington. Simonds has compiled a record of 206-192 in seven years patrolling the Miami dugout, including a 98-91 league mark.
An assistant at Miami from 2000-04, Simonds was a key component to five of those 11 30-win seasons and that understanding of the tradition of success at Miami makes the future of Miami baseball as promising as it has ever been.
"The combination of Dan's significant past contributions to our baseball program and his understanding of the rigor of our curricula, along with his coaching and playing experience at both the collegiate and professional levels, separated him from an extraordinary pool of nationally-respected candidates," said Miami University Director of Athletics Brad Bates upon Simonds appointment as Miami's head coach in July 2005.
Prior to taking over as the head coach at Miami, Simonds led Xavier to a 19-35 record in 2005, up from the Musketeers' 16-38 mark the previous year. Ironically, his first collegiate coaching win was an 11-5 victory over Miami at McKie Field on March 4, 2005. As a team, Xavier hit .279 with 26 home runs in 2005 compared to a .248 average with 18 long balls the year prior to Simonds' arrival.
Prior to his one-year stint as Xavier's head coach, Simonds was the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Miami for five seasons (2000-04). The RedHawks went 178-121-1 (.595) during those years and batted .315, including a .320 average in 2004. In 2000, he helped guide Miami to the Mid-American Conference Tournament title, its first since 1983, and a bid in the NCAA Tournament, where the RedHawks defeated Creighton.
Under Simonds' tutelage as an assistant, nine Miami hitters went on to professional careers, including Mike Ferris, a second-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004, Justin Knoedler, who made his major league debut with San Francisco in 2004, and David Cook, a ninth-round pick of the Chicago White Sox. Simonds also helped lure hurler Chad Reineke (2001-04) to Miami, who has since gone on to pitch for the San Diego Padres, Oakland A's and Cincinnati Reds.
During his 11 seasons at Miami, five as an assistant and six as the head coach, 30 players have been drafted by major league organizations, including nine players in the first 10 rounds. In 2007, pitchers John Ely (3rd round-Chicago White Sox) and Connor Graham (5th round-Colorado) went in the top 10 rounds, marking the third time during Simonds' tenure that at least two RedHawks were selected in the first 10 rounds.
The 47-year-old Simonds spent four years coaching in the San Diego Padres organization prior to his stint at Miami, managing the Class A Fort Wayne Wizards in 1999 and working as the hitting and catching instructor for the Class A Clinton Lumber Kings from 1997-98. He was a roving instructor/coach for the Bluefield Orioles in the Baltimore Orioles organization in 1995-96. His first professional coaching experience was as an assistant coach and bullpen catcher for the Chicago Cubs from 1992-94.
A 1987 graduate of Davidson College, Simonds was the starting catcher and team captain as a senior while twice earning All-Southern Conference honors. Following graduation, Simonds was an eighth-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 1987 and three years later was acquired by the Chicago Cubs as a free agent. He earned All-Appalachian League and All-California League honors in 1987 and 1988, respectively. In 1989, Simonds was selected by the Eastern League to play on the Diamond Diplomacy Tour in the former Soviet Union.
Simonds resides in Mason with his wife, Dawn, son, Sam, and daughter, Madison.