Garden City, KS-In his mind, it was all part of the plan.
It was a plan so meticulously crafted that it appeared scripted from the start. But if you know, Coach Sims, that's exactly how he wanted it.
A week after becoming the first Jayhawk Conference Coach to win the National Junior College Athletic Association, Sims reeled in yet another prestigious honor, being named the 2016 American Community College Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year. The award will presented to Sims at the American Football Coaches Association Victory Luncheon on Tuesday, January 10, at the 2017 AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. He will also be honored at the inaugural American Football Coaches Awards show, to be televised on CBS Sports Network, also on January 10, at 9 PM EST.
"It is an honor to be named ACCFCA Coach of the Year," Sims said. "It's been a dream of mine since I went to my first AFCA Convention and attended the Coach of the Year dinner and saw all those great coaches being honored. I really appreciate the AFCA and my fellow coaches for giving me this great honor. It was a great year for Garden City, our staff and our players."
Sims completed his second season at Garden City by leading the Broncbusters to an 11-0 record, the program's first Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) title since 2001, and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national title. Garden City beat Arizona Western, 25-22, in the title game to complete its undefeated season.
Sims has an overall record of 59-27 in his eight seasons as a head coach at Garden City, Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College and Mesabi Range (Minn.) College. He has led those teams to five playoff appearances, five bowl bids and two national championship game appearances. Forty-one of Sims' players have gone on to the NFL with 13 on current NFL rosters including All-Pros Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David. He has had 85 student-athletes move on to play at NCAA FBS schools.
Sims began his coaching career at Maryville (Mo.) High School in 1995 before moving up to the NCAA Division II level at Central Missouri State in 1996. After a season with the Mules, Sims was an assistant coach at Baker (Kan.) University from 1997-98 before he entered the Junior College ranks at Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) College in 1999. He spent two seasons with the Mounties until he got his first head coaching job at Mesabi Range in 2001. In his two seasons, Sims guided the Norse to a 13-7 overall record, including a 10-1 mark in 2003, and the program's first Minnesota College Athletic Conference title. He left for Minnesota State University-Mankato in 2004, serving as Co-offensive coordinator for two years.
Sims spent one season at Southern Arkansas University before landing the head job at Fort Scott in 2006. In his four seasons with the Greyhounds, Sims earned a 32-12 overall record, including a national title game appearance in 2009 and his first KJCCC title. He produced 51 players that would go on to play at NCAA FBS schools and founded the Citizen's Bank Bowl, which hosted the 2009 and 2010 NJCAA Football Championship game.
Sims moved to the FBS level at Indiana University in 2011 before reuniting with Carl Pelini – former defensive coordinator at Minnesota State – to serve as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida Atlantic University. He returned to Indiana in 2014 as Senior Director of Player Personnel before arriving at Garden City in 2015.