CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina head men's basketball coach Larry Hunter announced the addition of Jackson Simmons to his staff. Simmons, who played four years at the University of North Carolina, will take over the role of Director of Basketball Operations.
Simmons has many ties to the local community and specifically Western Carolina University. He was a four-year standout at Smoky Mountain High School, and both his parents -- Si and Cindi (Saltz) Simmons -- were student-athletes at Western Carolina and later coached at Smoky Mountain. His mother, Cindi, is also a member of the Western Carolina Athletics' Hall of Fame, inducted in 2000.
"We are very pleased that Jackson (Simmons) will be joining our coaching staff," said Hunter. "He is a tremendous young coach who wants to learn the business and will bring a lot of energy to the position."
Simmons was most recently a graduate assistant at Charlotte on head coach Mark Price's staff for two seasons. He helped plan and organize the daily practice schedules and also assisted in the film editing and game plan development.
Prior to Charlotte, Simmons was a four-year letter winner at North Carolina. He began his career as a preferred walk-on, but later earned a scholarship with the Tar Heels. He appeared in 115 games at UNC, totaling 129 points and 119 rebounds. He was a two-time recipient of the Marvin Williams Carolina Way Award which is awarded to the UNC player who best exemplifies playing hard, being unselfish and thinking of the team first. He was also awarded the Dick Baddour Senior Award in 2015 and was inducted into the Jackson County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
Simmons worked numerous camps throughout his playing career at UNC and post-collegiate career while working at Charlotte. Some of the highlights include the Roy Williams Basketball Camps and the Eric Montross Father's Day Camps from 2011-2017. He has also worked with the Carolina Kids Club Camps and the Dick Baddour Special Olympics Camps. He served as a coordinator of the inaugural Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Basketball Clinic in Charlotte in 2016 as well.
Simmons was named the Western North Carolina Player of the Year in 2011 by the Asheville Citizen-Times and was also an Associated Press All-State selection. He set the North Carolina high school record for career rebounds with 1,554 and was the leading scorer in Smoky Mountain High history with 1,916 points. He averaged 25.4 points and 16.9 rebounds per game as a senior and was a two-year team captain. He led Smoky Mountain to a 26-1 record and conference title while shooting 89 percent from the free throw line. He earned MVP honors with 19 points and 15 rebounds in the North Carolina East-West All-Star Game and also played in the Jordan Brand Classic in Charlotte.
He is engaged to Nicole Peterson who currently resides in Charlotte.