FOUR QUESTIONS…A CONVERSATION WITH CHARLES SIMMONS
Charles Simmons is the head men’s basketball coach and athletic director at Hertford County High School and has been coaching in that school system since 1980. He has coached basketball at the varsity level for over 30 years and his teams have won more than 550 games and 15 conference championships.
A graduate of East Rutherford High School, Charles is a graduate of UNC-Pembroke and has also been very involved at the highest level with various state organizations. He is a former member of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors, and also served as president of both the North Carolina Athletic Directors’ Association and the North Carolina Coaches Association.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in high school athletics during your career?
As with most things, technology has had probably the biggest impact over the years. Technology influences almost every aspect of the game from the way its coached, played, officiated and viewed. From the simple things like cells phones and text messaging to keep in touch with players to software programs for ADs that help with scheduling and coaching programs like Hudl that help with instruction and statistics, technology has changed the way athletic programs work. Coaches today have to be able to use athletic technology tools to be effective.
What is your best memory of high school athletics personally, from your own involvement in them? You have coached some outstanding teams during your great career.
I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to build the basketball program here at Hertford County from its beginning. In 1988, when the Ahoskie High School and Murfreesboro High School programs consolidated to form Hertford County High School, I was able to draw from a large pool of talented athletes who took a lot of pride in carving out their own identity, rising out of the shadow of the football program associated with this county. The players worked hard and took pride in “owning their house”, winning every home game for four years straight. To watch the reactions of the opposing teams and the fans when they took the court for warm-ups was just a great experience.
What is the hardest thing about being your school’s athletic director when you are also trying to direct your own basketball program?
Time management is always an issue. Sometimes being the athletic director means that your own sport and team may get slighted because even as I am coaching and preparing for my own games, I’m still working to make sure that the needs of the other sports are met, wrapping up the fall season while planning ahead for the spring season. Luckily I have a great support system in the form of my coaching staff members who pitch in to help with whatever needs doing.
In your limited spare time, what are some of the activities you are involved in away from athletics?
In addition to athletics, I also serve on the school leadership team as the Physical Education department chair. Outside of school, I enjoy working on restoring a 1979 Chevrolet truck left to me by grandfather. After basketball season, I look forward to playing tennis and being able to watch drag races on Saturday. Overall, most of my free time is spent just enjoying time with my family and my dogs.