Fresh off of leading Garden City (Kan.) to its first national championship, Jeff Sims was recognized Friday by the NJCAA Football Coaches Association as the 2016 Spalding® NJCAA Football Coach of the Year.
In just his second season at the helm, Sims guided the Broncbusters to a perfect 11-0 season capped off with a 25-22 victory over Arizona Western in the NJCAA Football Championship Game. Garden City dominated the opposition throughout its campaign, outscoring its opponents by an average margin of 19.6 points per game.
Claiming their program's first Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) title since 2001, the Broncbusters went 7-0 in conference play to finish three games ahead of the pack in the final standings. For Sims, this marked the second KJCCC conference championship of his career – having won the conference's regular season and postseason crowns in 2009 while serving as head coach at Fort Scott (Kan.).
Following two seasons as an assistant at Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), Sims landed his first head coaching job with Mesabi Range (Minn.) in the NJCAA. Leading the Norse from 2002-03, he compiled a 13-7 record including a 10-1 finish in 2003. Under his leadership, Mesabi Range won the Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) Northern Division for the first time in the program's history and had three players earn NJCAA All-America honors.
In 2004, Sims departed for NCAA DII program Minnesota State where he would serve as co-offensive coordinator until 2006. He then spent a year at Southern Arkansas State before returning to the NJCAA in 2007 as head coach at Fort Scott (Kan.).
Leading the Greyhounds program from 2007-10, Sims amassed a 32-12 record. In 2009, he led Fort Scott to the NJCAA Football Championship Game before suffering a narrow loss to a Blinn (Texas) team led by future Heisman Trophy winner and current Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. In four seasons with the Greyhounds, Sims produced 51 players that went on to play at NCAA FBS programs, including current New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David.
Stepping into the Big Ten Conference in 2011, Sims was hired by Indiana to serve as quality control for recruiting. In 2012, he reunited with Carl Pelini – former defensive coordinator at Minnesota State – to serve as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida Atlantic. Sims came back to the Hoosiers in 2014 as their director of player personnel before arriving at Garden City in 2015.
About the Spalding® NJCAA Football Coach of the Year Award
The NJCAA Football Coaches Association annually recognizes the top head football coach in the country with the NJCAA Football Coach of the Year award. Spalding® partnered with the NJCAA in 2013 to become the title sponsor of the award.
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