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Marshall's Simmons leaves for Tennessee job

By Mike Stunson mstunson@paducahsun.com

There is no job in Kentucky that Joseph Simmons would have left Marshall County for. But unfortunately for the Lady Marshal basketball program, he found an opportunity one state away.

Simmons, head coach at Marshall the past seven years, accepted a job Monday that will take him to Madison, Tennessee, to be the head coach for the Goodpasture Christian School girls basketball program.

"It's a Christian environment and they have a lot of success in all of their programs, not just basketball," Simmons said of his new job. "They place a high importance on development of the kids. Winning is important, but it's not the main thing there. It's a move I didn't think me and my family could pass up."

He added that there is a good opportunity for he and his whole family to succeed there and said everyone he met -- from the principal and administrators -- have been nothing but supportive.

Its previous head coach, Lynn Dearing, coached at Goodpasture for seven years and led it to a 17-10 record last season.

After taking over for the legendary Howard Beth, Simmons proved to be a worthy successor at Marshall. He coached three straight region championship teams from 2012-14 and had the Lady Marshals near the top of the region each year.

In his seven seasons at Marshall, his teams went 178-59.

With all of the successes Simmons has had at the school, he said that leaving the area was a tough decision.

"It was a decision that was tough for both me and my wife," he said. "Her whole family is from Marshall County and that's one of the reasons we came back here, but the timing was right and the situation was right. It was very tough because I worked with some great people here, had great assistant coaches to work with, great players to coach and great fan support."

Last season, the Lady Marshals advanced to the First Region championship game and completed the season with a 27-8 record.

Four starters will graduate from that team, leaving the next coach with a potential rebuild. But Simmons knows that even when Marshall is down, it's always in the forefront of the region conversation.

"It will take some time and adjustment for the players to step into some key roles. Depending on how long that takes will depend on how quickly they can be successful again," he said. "I still think Marshall can be a contender and that even next year they can be a top three team in the region.

"I wouldn't have left for any other job in Kentucky. I feel like this was the best one," he added.

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