Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Rookie' Guides Peters Indians Regroup under New Coach

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Rookie' Guides Peters Indians Regroup under New Coach

Article excerpt

Leroy Simms is making his debut, of sorts, despite having 20 years of volleyball coaching experience on his resum.

Simms has taken over as boys head coach at Peters Township High School.

"This is my first year coaching boys," Simms said. "I've been coaching girls for the past 20 years."

Simms had been the head women's coach at Pitt-Greensburg for 12 years and will begin year No. 13 in the fall. He also has previous coaching stints at Waynesburg University as an assistant, Waynesburg Central High School as a head coach, and six years of coaching club volleyball, but has never coached boys during that time.

"I've wanted to coach boys volleyball, but it's tougher to find a coaching opening in the WPIAL because most of the schools have coaches who have been around for a long time," Simms said. "When I heard that Chris Kelly had stepped down at Peters Township, I applied and was fortunate to get the job."

Simms is a 1988 graduate of Waynesburg Central High School. He started college at Robert Morris University, then transferred to Waynesburg University and graduated in 1995 with a bachelors degree in education. Since then, he's earned two more degrees, a masters in political science in 2003 from California University of Pennsylvania, and a master's in athletic administration in 2006 from Concordia University.

"I'm finding that there's a big difference between coaching boys and girls," said Simms, who is a seventh grade social studies teacher at Bentworth Middle School.

"Boys are more team-focussed than girls. They are more in tune with the final objective of winning, and will do what's needed to get that accomplished. Girls are more refined and learn technique easier than boys. They are trained better and have better passing skills. Boys like to jump high and hit hard."

Simms took over a Peters Township squad that was profoundly affected by graduation, as the Indians had to replace six of their top 11 players.

"We lost the setter, a libero, an outside hitter and a middle hitter," Simms said.

Simms does have five players back who have varsity experience, but one has been out with an injury. …

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