Simmons' resignation provides stark reminder for Big 12 coaches

Monday, November 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ The forced resignation of Oklahoma State's Bob Simmons provided Big 12 coaches a stark reminder of the reality of college football.

No matter how good a person Simmons is, the bottom line is that he didn't win enough games.

``In the old days, you run a good, clean program, players go to school and have a good graduation rate. You work hard and stay with it. You had good years and bad years, and people tolerated it,'' Missouri coach Larry Smith said Monday.

``It's not what type of program you have anymore. It's based on one thing _ win, nothing else,'' he said.

Smith is all two familiar with Simmons' predicament. He admittedly is feeling similar pressure in his seventh season at Missouri.

After three losing seasons to start his tenure with the Tigers, they went to consecutive bowl games. But they are 2-7 this season and assured their second straight losing season.

Simmons announced his decision Monday, just hours after the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference during which his peers were unanimous in their feelings for the Oklahoma State coach. Terms such as ``wonderful person,'' ``fine coach'' and ``friend'' were used frequently.

``I think an awful lot of Bob, first as a coach, the way I know him the most, and being around him as a person and the way he conducts himself,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.

``He is a wonderful person,'' said Kansas State's Bill Snyder. ``He is a very, very fine football coach and has done an awful lot for this conference.''

In six seasons at Oklahoma State, Simmons upgraded the quality of players on the roster, kept them on campus and improved the team's graduation rate. But the Cowboys (2-6, 0-5 Big 12) have lost six straight games and are assured their fifth losing season under Simmons.

Athletic director Terry Don Phillips agrees that Simmons made tremendous improvements in a program that had been in ``a deep spiral.'' But he said the decision to make a change boiled down to confidence among alumni, whose support is needed for Phillips to push for a proposed $80 million stadium renovation.

``Winning is one of those things that people who support the program expect us to do,'' he said. ``I don't think any of us is ashamed to admit that's why we play and that's why we compete.''

Simmons' last game with the Cowboys will be in their season finale Nov. 25 against top-ranked Oklahoma. He is 29-36 with three games left.

``We no longer value substance. We don't value what sports is about. We value the entertainment value, that's it and that's a sad thing to say,'' Colorado's Gary Barnett said asked his reaction to the OSU situation.

``If I were to pick someone for my son to be coached by, it would be Bob Simmons. I knew he would get a total education and would have all of the right things I would want him exposed to. It wouldn't be a shallow program. It would be one with substance.''

Oklahoma State lost 21-16 Saturday to No. 23 Texas A&M. The Cowboys had an apparent game-winning touchdown in the final minute when Aso Pogi hit tight end Marcellus Rivers in the end zone on fourth-and-10 from the 15. But officials ruled that Rivers came down out of bounds.

Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum spoke to Simmons both before and after the game.

``He knew he was under some pressure there. He obviously knew what his situation was,'' Slocum said, sharing some of their conversation. ``I told him I appreciated his friendship. He's a good man.''

Slocum also said there was no reason to believe that Saturday's outcome really had any bearing on Simmons' decision.

``I don't think that whatever problems or feelings there happened in one game,'' Slocum said. ``Our game was one in the process. But I doubt if it had anything to do in the process. They played well in our game.''

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: ``I think I'd take Josh Heupel, until Oklahoma gets beat,'' Kansas coach Terry Allen said when asked who he'd give the Heisman Trophy to.

EXTRA POINTS: After losing two of its last three games, Kansas State rebounded with a 56-10 victory over Iowa State. The Wildcats next host No. 4 Nebraska in a game that likely will determine the North Division champion. ... While a turnaround for Kansas State, last week's game seemed more like a hangover for Iowa State, a week after the Cyclones clinched their first winning season since 1989 and became eligible for their first bowl since 1979.