By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
GREEN VALLEY —
For the past 28 seasons a constant on the sidelines of Mitchell Stadium has been Bluefield High School head coach Fred Simon.
This season the Simon-led Bluefield Beavers advanced to the West Virginia Class AA semifinals and completed the season with a 10-3 mark. Tuesday night at the Princeton Elks Club, Simon was named the Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Coach of the Year.
Making remarks after being presented with the award Simon said, “With all the coaches in the area, I am very proud to get this award. ... I have to talk about my assistant coaches. My son has helped me since 2004 and has been a great help to all our state championships and all the other coaches who’ve worked with me.”
The veteran coach addressed the student-athletes who were also honored at the dinner Tuesday night.
“To the players here, good luck to you in the future. Work hard, do what’s right. We constantly try to get our players to do what’s right,” Simon commented. “I believe there is more to the game than just practicing football. I think you have to be disciplined in the classroom. I think you have to be disciplined at home, in your actions. In today’s world it’s a constant battle to get that done.”
Simon has a career record of 217-112. The past 20 seasons, in Class AA, Simon has led Bluefield to a 180-67 record with nine appearances in the state championship game and four titles.
Simon credits his mother with his getting into the coaching profession.
“My mom always wanted me to go into teaching and coaching,” Simon noted. “I didn’t realize it until I was looking through a few papers a few years ago, but I wrote a paper on wanting to be a coach when I was in ninth grade and it was kind of neat. I’ve always loved coaching and I still do.”
His coaching career began as an assistant under the legendary John Chmara, for whom he played at Bluefield High. Following Chmara’s retirement after the 1985 season, Simon took over and has held the position since. Chmara later returned and served on Simon’s staff.
“The values he (Chmara) taught, the discipline that was learned, I’ve had a lot of good coaches throughout my career as far as playing and all that, but he was such an intelligent man both offensively and defensively.
“There was a difference as a player and as an assistant compared to my being head coach. It was a lot more fun with me being the head coach. He was such a business person and so very, very smart and ahead of his time as a coach.”
Simon was quick to give praise to the assistant coaches on his current BHS staff and those who worked with him in past years.
“I’ve had some excellent help as far as assistant coaches go,” Simon said. “My son Freddy (Fritz) helps me, Coach (Tony) Webster, Coach (Don) Jones, Coach (Bobby) Beamon, Coach (David) Hubbard — go on down the line, Coach (Jeff) Boyles has helped throughout the years, Pete Sarver, Randy Albert, Bill Albert, I know I’ll leave somebody out, but it has all been very nice of the guys who have helped me throughout the years that have helped me become the coach I am.”
Simon is only the third head football coach at Bluefield High School over the past 55 seasons and he explains what that means in the world of Beaver football.
“There’s a lot of pride at Bluefield High School in the football program, in our area, but I’m just proud to represent our school and happy to be part of it,” Simon commented. “Coach (Merrill) Gainer started it (1958-67), Coach Chmara (1968-85) continued it and I’m doing the best I can to continue it after they’ve left.
“We work on trying o get to Wheeling every year and striving to win a state championship. That was started years ago with the tradition we have. I’m really happy to be a part of it and will do my best to try to continue it.”
— Contact Bob Redd at