- Coached one Biletnikoff Award winner;
- Coached three 1,000 yard receivers at two different schools in just five seasons; and
- Coached at schools located in Texas, Washington, North Carolina, and New York.
After looking a little closer, Anae would find out that this coaching candidate holds not just a bachelor's degree in broadcast communications but a master's degree in educational leadership. In addition to his coaching experience, this coaching candidate has experience as an assistant athletics director and chief of staff.
When the owner of this resume arrived for his interview, he wouldn't be able to hide that he is an African-American. Through some simple questioning, it would be learned that he is not a member of the religion that sponsors BYU. Currently, none of the Cougars coaches fit this profile.
Oh, and this coaching candidate is a BYU graduate and former Cougar football player.
Linebacker Dennis Simmons is the coaching candidate described above. If he is interested in coming back to BYU to coach wide receivers, it seems like a no brainer that Anae should hire him.
Anae, as well as the assistants he has already hired are BYU graduates. While no one has come out and said it, having former Cougars on board as assistants seems important. In fact, even Aaron Roderick, who was BYU's first choice as receivers coach, is a former Cougar. Besides being part of the club, Simmons has a lot to offer.
His nationwide experience would be an asset to recruiting. He has recruited in the West, Texas, the South, and Northeast. Simmons grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. Wherever BYU wants to look to find prospects, Simmons probably already knows someone who can help the Cougars get their foot in the door. His racial and religious background will do the same.
It is a fact that many teenagers feel more comfortable around people who are similar to them. While some African-American, non-LDS players will still come play in Provo even without an assistant coach like Simmons others will not. Coaches from other schools vying for the same recruit will definitely use it against BYU. It would be a shame to have BYU lose out on the next Cody Hoffman just because someone like Simmons wasn't on staff.
BYU has recognized the importance of a Polynesian presence on the coaching staff to help land top Polynesian recruits. African-American players have made vital contributions to BYU's success over the years. Making a hire to help ensure that quality African-American players continue to come to the Y should be equally important.
Simmons and Anae can probably relate pretty well to each other in terms of football. Besides having a similar playing experience under LaVell Edwards, they were both assistant coaches under Mike Leach at Texas Tech. Simmons came on board at Texas Tech in 2005, which was just after Anae left for his first stint as offensive coordinator at BYU. While they were never there at the same time, they both learned from Leach. When Anae presents a game plan or a new scheme, Simmons should pick up pretty quick what the team will need from the receivers to properly execute it, and then be able to effectively convey that to the players.
Simmons' former BYU teammate Tim McTyer thinks Simmons would be a good hire for BYU.
"I would say yeah," McTyer responded. "Dennis has been coaching. He did his time there (graduate assistant) before he left and went out into the coaching ranks. He is another guy that can go out into the community and understand some of the African-American guys as well. I think Dennis would be a fit anywhere, but being a BYU alumni, I think of course he would fit."
McTyer has been a high school football coach for several years. He knows how to recognize a good coach. When he evaluates Simmons it isn't just from the perspective of being a former teammate.
Indeed, Dennis Simmons appears to be the ideal candidate to coach wide receivers for BYU. He brings diversity, but also knows what BYU represents and how to win the right way. He has been successful at multiple schools. He would be a huge asset in recruiting. He has a similar offensive background as Anae.
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