Jeff Simmons begins his 13th season as a full-time assistant and 17th overall on the Carnegie Mellon staff in 2022. During his first nine years on staff and from 2017 through the 2021, Simmons was the running backs and wide receivers coach and will continue coaching the wideouts in 2022.
Simmons was the offensive special teams coordinator after becoming a full-time assistant through the 2018 season and then was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2019.
In 2021, the Tartans Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) championship season, Simmons mentored running back Tre Vasiliadis who led the PAC with 1,120 rushing yards and ranked 19th in Division III. Vasiliadis became the fifth player in Carnegie Mellon to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and was named to the D3football.com All-America team.
As running backs coach, Simmons coached Sam Benger who became Carnegie Mellon’s career rushing leader his junior season and ended his career with 5,376 yards and 390 points, the most in program history. The William V. Campbell Trophy Finalist, regarded as the academic equivalent of the Heisman Trophy and given annually to the absolute football best scholar-athlete in the nation amongst all Divisions, became the first back in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.
During his junior campaign, Benger set the school’s single-season rushing touchdown and scoring record with 28 touchdowns and 170 points. Benger repeated as the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Offensive Player of the Year following the 2016 campaign. He was also named to two All-American squads - American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and D3football.com. He was awarded Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III South Offensive Player of the Year honors.
In 2015, Benger was named to three All-American squads – American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Associated Press (AP) and D3football.com. Benger led the nation in rushing with 2,092 yards, averaging 190.2 yards per game on his way to becoming the school’s single-season rushing leader. Benger was the 21st player in Division III history to reach the 2,000-yard plateau. Also in 2015, Simmons coached place kicker Gabe Renna who set the school’s single-season point-after-attempt record with 56 conversions. Renna ended his career in 2016 as the school’s career leader with 109 PATs while converting the last 48 attempts of his career.
Simmons also mentored the programs all-time leading receiver in 2017 in John Prather. The wideout set the all-time career marks in receiver for yards (3,077), receptions (194) and touchdown receptions (25).
Simmons played his collegiate career at Slippery Rock University from 1994-1997 as a quarterback before finishing his Bachelor of Arts degree in human resources at Geneva College. His resume includes tenures as a high school quarterbacks and defensive secondary coach at Kiski Prep, and quarterbacks coach at Seneca Valley, Gateway and Shaler High Schools.
Simmons is the grandson of former Carnegie Mellon head football coach and College Football Hall of Famer Chuck Klausing, who later coached at Kiski Prep with Simmons as his quarterback. Kiski Prep won the Inter-Scholastic Prep School League during Simmons’ senior year.
Since 1994, Simmons has coached at the Team Klausing Wing-T Football Camps each summer throughout the United States, a camp that his grandfather started in 1964. Over the past few years, Simmons has taken over running the on-field coordination of the camp. The camp promotes team skills, life skills and team leadership.
Notable high school teams that have been a part of the camp are: Princeton High School in West Virginia, Albany Academy in New York, Twin Lakes High School in Indiana and Maryland School for the Deaf. Former Tartans Offensive Coordinator Rich Erdelyi continues to assist Simmons at these Wing-T camps annually.
Simmons, who was part of the Carnegie Mellon 2006 University Athletic Association Coaching Staff of the year, was also an instructor at the West Virginia Classic Quarterback Skills Clinic from 2007-09 and 2011 as well as an instructor at the Quarterback / Wide Receiver in the Bubble Elite Camp from 2009-2011.
Simmons and his wife, Colleen, reside in Hempfield Township and have a 15-year-old daughter Hayden and 14-year-old son Luc.