Todd Simon, the head coach at Southern Utah for the past seven years, is the new head men’s basketball coach at Bowling Green State University, Director of Athletics Derek van der Merwe announced Wednesday.
Simon, Bowling Green’s 18th head men’s basketball coach, has compiled an overall record of 127-115 in his eight seasons as a head coach, which includes serving as the interim head coach at UNLV for 17 games in 2016.
Fresh off Southern Utah’s first 20-win hat trick in more than 40 years, Simon was named a finalist earlier this month for the 2023 Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award, which is given annually to a head coach who not only achieves success on the basketball court, but who displays moral integrity off the court as well.
“The BGSU family is excited to welcome Coach Todd Simon, his wife, Kati and his family to our community,” said van der Merwe.
“The Falcon community will soon see and experience what I have learned through this search process. He is a coach who wants to be here. He is highly respected by his peers around the country.
“He is a coach who is committed to the student-athlete, the student experience and truly values the educational process. He embraces the academic mission of the University. He knows how to build a successful program, and he loves to win!”
BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers added, “Bowling Green State University is so pleased to welcome Todd Simon as our head coach of men’s basketball
“He brings established head coaching experience, an understanding of the Midwest and the Mid-American Conference and a commitment to supporting our student-athletes. I want to thank Derek van der Merwe, director of athletics, for his leadership of this national search.
Together, we will continue to elevate the impact of BGSU Athletics, and I look forward to joining our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community in cheering on men’s basketball in the Stroh Center later this year.”
The Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year in 2021, Simon inherited a program at Southern Utah that averaged 4.5 DI wins from 2013-17 and turned the Thunderbirds into a winner. Southern Utah is coming off its third-straight season with 20 or more wins with a overall record of 65-28 since the 2020-21 season.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be the next head coach at Bowling Green State University,” said Simon. “I am grateful to President Rogers and Derek van der Merwe for the opportunity to lead this program and be a part of this special University.
“My family and I look forward to being servant leaders to our student-athletes, to our campus and to the Bowling Green community. We are dedicated to developing our young men in the program both on and off the court, and we are excited to get to Bowling Green to start building relationships. We are going to bring an intense and exciting brand of up-tempo basketball to the Stroh Center and have an expectation to build one of the best home court advantages in the nation.”
Under Simon’s leadership, Southern Utah is coming off a 22-12 season and Western Athletic Conference Championship game appearance in 2023. It was Southern Utah’s first season in the WAC after previously competing in the Big Sky Conference. The nation’s No. 4 scoring offense in the country (82.7 ppg), Southern Utah accepted a bid to the 2023 CBI.
Simon brought program-changing players to Southern Utah. Six of SUU’s top ten career scorers played under Simon during the past seven years, as well as the program’s top two career rebounders.
Simon led Southern Utah to 23 wins in the 2021-22 season, achieving the second most victories in a single season in SUU’s Division I history.
The Thunderbirds compiled a record of 20-10 throughout the regular season, including a mark of 14-6 in conference play to earn the number two overall seed in the Big Sky Conference Tournament and a first round bye for the second consecutive year.
Following the Big Sky Tournament, Simon’s Thunderbirds accepted an invitation to participate in the inaugural Basketball Classic, where they were matched up with MAC opponent Kent State in the first round.
Southern Utah claimed victory over Kent State, advancing to the second round where they defeated Conference-USA opponent UTEP on the road. SUU then faced West Coast Conference foe Portland in the quarterfinals, picking up their third consecutive postseason victory to reach the semifinal round.
Simon and Southern Utah once again did an incredible job of protecting home court in the 2021-22 season, amassing a record of 13-3 at the America First Event Center. Southern Utah also finished the season ranked second overall in the Big Sky Conference in scoring (77.7 ppg) and first in rebounding (32.9 rpg).
The 2021-22 season also saw three different Thunderbirds earn All-Big Sky recognition, as John Knight III became the second player in program history to earn First Team All-Big Sky honors. Jones and Maizen Fausett were each named to the all-conference third team.
During the 2020-21 season Simon led the Thunderbirds to their first ever Big Sky Championship, as they were named Big Sky Conference regular season champions after finishing conference play with a record of 12-2.
Along with claiming the regular season championship, Simon navigated his team to the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Sky Conference Tournament, and the first BYE to the quarterfinals that the program had ever received.
Simon’s Thunderbirds set a high bar that season finishing the regular season with a .864 winning percentage, which was the best in the program’s Division I history. They also finished their Big Sky Conference schedule with a .857 winning percentage, shattering the previous high of .450.
Along with the overall accolades, the Thunderbirds finished the season 14-0 at home. It was only the second time in the program’s Division I history that they finished the regular season flawless at home and marked the most victories at home in a single season in the program’s DI tenure.
The 2020-21 edition of the Thunderbirds also finished the regular season with the best scoring offense in the Big Sky, averaging 84.2 points per game. That number was good enough for the third highest mark in the NCAA as well.
The 2020-21 season also saw four Thunderbirds be named to the Big Sky All-Conference team, the most since they joined the conference.
Jones became the first Thunderbird to be named to the all-conference first team after finishing the season as the fourth-highest scorer in the Big Sky. Jones was also named to the NABC All-District first team for District 6.
John Knight III and Maizen Fausett were both named to the All-Big Sky Conference second team and Dre Marin was named an honorable mention.
At the conclusion of the season, Simon was named Big Sky Coach of the Year, NABC District 6 Coach of the Year, the winner of the 2021 Jim Phelan Award, and a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award and the Hugh Durham Award.
Since the beginning of the 2020-21 season, Simon has led Southern Utah to an overall record 65-28, a mark of 38-14 in the Big Sky Conference, and record of 40-5 on their home court. Prior to Simon’s arrival SUU had one winning season over the previous 15 years.
Prior to Southern Utah, Simon was named interim head coach of the UNLV men’s basketball program in January 2016 and immediately led them to three consecutive victories.
During Simon’s 17 games, the Runnin’ Rebels ranked as the number one team in the nation in adjusted tempo, scoring more than 100 points in four games. UNLV finished with a 9-8 record, despite playing with as few as five scholarship players.
Prior to being named interim head coach, Simon was in his third year as associate head coach with UNLV and had a critical role in assembling UNLV’s roster, which Rivals.com ranked its 2014 recruiting class No. 5 in the nation, while the 2015 class was ranked No. 11.
Prior to his tenure as a Runnin’ Rebel, Simon served Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada for seven years in both head and assistant coaching roles. As head coach at Findlay Prep in 2012-2013, he led the team to a 35-1 record, including eight wins over top-25 ranked teams.
The 35 victories are the most wins in school history. During Simon’s tenure at Findlay Prep, they accumulated an overall record of 192-9.
During his career Simon has helped develop and coach several players that have become top NBA draft picks, including Anthony Bennett, who was selected as the top overall pick in 2013, Rashad Vaughn, who was picked No. 17 in 2015, and Avery Bradley.
Other NBA players Simon has coached in his career include Christian Wood, Jorge Gutierrez, Cory Joseph, DeAndre Liggins, Nick Johnson and Tristan Thompson.
A native of Fowler, Mich., Simon earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan with a double major in sport studies and management information systems in 2003. He earned his master’s degree from UNLV in sport education leadership in 2010.
Todd and his wife, Kati, have three sons, Rece, Raylan, Ryder and one daughter, Sophia.
What They Are Saying About Todd Simon
“I am excited for Todd and his family. He is a terrific basketball coach that prioritizes family and I look forward to following his continued success at Bowling Green. Todd is a guy that knows basketball and his teams play extremely hard. They are always well prepared, and it will be fun for Bowling Green fans to watch his teams preform.
– Lon Kruger, retired college basketball and NBA head coach
“Todd is a relentless worker and a proven winner. But more importantly a great leader and a family man. He will have an atmosphere and a program the community will be excited to support and cheer on.”
– Kevin Kruger, UNLV head men’s basketball coach
“It has been a pleasure to work alongside Coach Simon for the last five years. He is a tremendous leader and has been a great mentor to me here at Southern Utah. Bowling Green has made a fantastic hire and I’m so excited to follow his success.”
– Tracy Sanders, Southern Utah head women’s basketball coach
“Todd Simon is a program builder. He’s a coach that has worked his way up from being an assistant coach in high school to becoming a head coach all the way to taking over one of the worst Division-I basketball programs at the time and building it into a consistent winner. I was fortunate enough to spend a week with Coach Simon in Cedar City and see how he built the program, not just in terms of what he did on the court, but how he remodeled the offices and installed new graphics in the building. He’s a coach that leaves no stone unturned in terms of getting that program to the highest level. What he was able to do at Southern Utah, not just in terms of wins and losses and on the floor with offensive and defensive efficiency, but build a program is what is going to make him special at Bowling Green.”
– Ryan Pannone, New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach
“Todd has a proven track record of success everywhere he has been. He is a program-builder who has shown the ability to recruit and develop players at all levels. I would expect Todd to have an immediate impact on the Bowling Green program from day one.”
– Brian Thornton, Commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference
“Todd Simon is a fantastic hire for Bowling Green. He is a great basketball coach and an excellent teacher of the game that brings a winning pedigree. More than that, he’s a great leader of young men and is wonderful within the community. It’s a home run for the Falcons!”
– Tom Wistrcill, Commissioner of the Big Sky Conference
“Bowling Green is getting a great coach, someone who genuinely cares about the players he’s coaching. He’s a student of the game. He’s a true winner. Most importantly a great human being.”
– Amir Garrett, LHP for the Kansas City Royals and former Findlay Prep basketball player
“Bowling Green hit a home run related to the hire of Todd Simon. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with Todd during my tenure at Southern Utah and it was remarkable to watch him execute all elements of the vision he laid out for the program when we hired him in 2016. There is no doubt that Todd will elevate the Bowling Green basketball program through relentless recruiting and development of a championship culture. Big things ahead at the Stroh Center.”
– Jason Butikofer, Chief Operating Officer at UConn
“Derek van der Merwe has scored big with the hiring of Todd Simon. Coach Simon is a winner both on and off the court. In the transfer portal world, he has proven to be at the top of the game. His athletes don’t leave, and he has earned the reputation of building a program that others want to join due to his passion for developing them both as players and individuals. He and Kati will be a wonderful addition to the Bowling Green community. Congratulations!”
– Debbie Corum, former Southern Utah Director of Athletics
“Todd Simon has worked hard to build a strong and successful men’s basketball program at SUU. His family is an important part of our community. We are sad to see them leave SUU and Cedar City, but we are excited for this opportunity for them and for them to be closer to family.”
– Mindy Benson, President at Southern Utah University
“It is not a coincidence that Coach Todd Simon has had success everywhere he’s coached. He has a great basketball feel and a genuine concern for others. He cares deeply about the development of his players both on and off the court. He is very competitive and brings positive energy to his program every day.”
– Dave Rice, former UNLV head men’s basketball coach