Roff's coach reaches huge career milestone

Roff head coach Ead Simon shares a laugh with umpire Chad Rogers in this file photo from The Ada News archives. Simon reached career win number 1,000 when his Tigers topped host Washington 16-12 Thursday night.

WASHINGTON – Veteran Roff head coach Ead Simon became the 15th coach in Oklahoma baseball history to reach the 1,000-win mark when his Tigers outlasted Washington 16-12 on the road Thursday night.

Simon now has an overall record of 1,000-290 in a career that has spanned more than 20 years.

Simon said the milestone victory certainly wasn’t one of his best.

“I didn’t feel like I coached a very good game. That made it a little bittersweet, I guess,” Simon told The Ada News Friday morning.

“You look back and time just passes by pretty quick. I know if it was as cold as it was the past few days, I probably wouldn’t have coached that many,” he continued. “Baseball is such a grinding sport, and that makes me respect the coaches that have stayed in it even longer than I have. It’s not easy every day.”

Simon said 1,000 victories wouldn’t be possible without all the good players he’s coached throughout the years.

“It makes me reflect back and think about all the good players I’ve coached,” he said. “A coach can put them in a system and point them in the right direction, but it’s the players that win the games.”

Simon got off to a good start in Allen before he landed at Roff.

“Even when I was in Allen, I feel like I ran through some really good kids and parents. Obviously, at Roff, I’ve been blessed with kids that want to play and love the game. There’re not a handful of places out there that I think can say that,” he said. “And there’s not a handful of places that I think would be worth coaching, just because I don’t feel like the people and the kids are willing to do what it takes to be successful.”

One of the best things he loves about Roff is the support he gets from school administrators, the community and parents.

“There are just certain places that go at it a little harder and a little different. I’m just glad to be at one of those places. I feel fortunate that people do value baseball here (at Roff),” he said.

Reaching 1,000 wins is no easy task. But for Simon, it’s far more difficult than many. Each fall and spring, he beefs up the Tigers’ schedule with top-notch opponents. There have been very few cakewalks on any schedule Simon has put together.

“I feel like that’s the culture we’ve created. We want our guys to be challenged every day,” he said. “We’ve kind of prided ourselves on playing good people and preparing ourselves for big moments, so we’re not in awe of those moments. The kids buy into it.”

Simon said he’s enjoyed coaching this year’s team as much as any of his past squads.

“This group of kids I have right now has good team chemistry,” he said. “They are really a close-knit group and are a lot of fun to coach.”

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.