LIMA — Quincey Simpson is headed back home.
Simpson, a 1993 Lima Senior graduate and former basketball player was hired by the Lima Senior Board of Education as the Spartans’ next basketball coach at a board meeting Thursday at Lima Senior’s gymnasium.
“I’m highly excited to be the next Lima Senior basketball coach,” Simpson said. “I’m honored to take this job to get Lima Senior to the highest level to be reached. It won’t be easy, but I never anticipated it would be easy.
“We want to keep as many kids in the program as we can. Obviously, we want to win, but we want to develop, first, and that starts in the middle school level.”
One of the first questions the media asked centered on his junior-to-be son, Xavier, a member of the Division III state championship Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds.
Will Xavier join his dad at Lima Senior?
“As for my son, he’s the only one I can speak for,” Simpson said. “That’s a decision that me and his mom are going to make. That’s going to be a family matter. Right now he’s at LCC, and he’s going to finish the school year out strong at LCC.”
As for a timetable to make the decision, Quincey said, “Not right now. We’ll sit and decide what’s best for Xavier. We have not set a timetable.”
Xavier added, “I’m going to talk to close family members and close friends. It’ll be a pretty hard decision. I’m going to be patient with it and make sure I make the right decision.
“I’ve been playing for my dad in AAU since the third grade. I never thought about playing for him in high school, it was always AAU, but now I’m going to have to think about it since he’s at Lima Senior, obviously.”
Quincey Simpson was also asked if he’d been contacted by any other players around the area about coming to Lima Senior.
“Not at all,” Simpson said. “I cannot speak for any other of those kids who were Lima city school kids. I can speak for them. That’s a family decision that those guys and their families have to decide on.”
Lima Senior superintendent Jill Ackerman added, “Where kids go to school is the decision of their parents that they make. Everybody has choices, whether it’s open enrollment or whether it’s community schools, so there is no concern. There will be no recruiting, obviously. Our doors are always open and kids come and go all the time and we’ll continue to operate that way.”
Simpson was selected from a total of 45 candidates. The committee interviewed eight and brought back three for additional interviews, including Doug Davis, who recently led Bath to the regional tournament.
“It was a big decision for a committee to go through all those applicants and narrow those down, but really and truly, the piece that has been the most important to us for a very long time has been a person who is able to develop a full program, starting at youth through middle school and into high school,” Ackerman said. “We know he has that with all the experience that he has. He’s very connected to our community. We all know him. He graduated from here, that always carries more points, and he’s always been a big supporter of our kids and our program.”
Simpson won’t teach at the school, but will continue his full-time job as a corrections officer. He will also continue to coach AAU and train individual basketball players.
“There’s a lot of on-line access for him to be able to monitor grades and have daily monitoring of grades through progress book,” Ackerman said. “He’ll be able to have immediate communication with the teaching staff with emails.
“It’s always most desirable to have a teacher in the building, but the other issue is at this point we don’t even have a teaching opening in the building.”
Simpson replaces Shawn Allen, who was not renewed as boys basketball coach. Allen compiled a record of 77-79 in seven years with the Spartans.
Simpson was Lima Senior’s freshman coach from 2003 to 2006 and was an assistant varsity coach from 2006 to 2010.
He’s also been a longtime youth coach for the AAU. His King James 15-year-old team, which included Xavier and two other starters on the LCC’s state title team, won a national championship last summer.
“My AAU is obviously going to slow down,” Simpson said. “I’m still going to be heavy involved with King James, but priority number one is Lima Senior basketball and I mean the entire program, from the middle school on up.”
He also coached the Lima Explosion in 2012 and was the head coach at OSU-Lima/Rhodes State.
“The good days are back. I don’t think the good days have ever left,” Simpson said. “Throughout the history this has always been an exciting program and I want to bring that high energy back. We want to run, obviously, and get up and down the floor in a structured environment and play at a high level.”