After 10 seasons (2003-12) as Bengals special teams coach, Darrin Simmons in 2013 assumes the title of special teams coordinator. "It’s a well-deserved upgrade,” head coach Marvin Lewis said of the new title. "It reflects the importance of special teams in constructing a winning club and also reflects the great job Darrin has done for us."
After 10 seasons (2003-12) as Bengals special teams coach, Darrin Simmons in 2013 assumes the title of special teams coordinator.
“It’s a well-deserved upgrade,” head coach Marvin Lewis said of the new title. “It reflects the importance of special teams in constructing a winning club and also reflects the great job Darrin has done for us.”
In an analysis of team rankings in 10 “major categories” of special teams play, conducted by Bengals.com, the Bengals finished first in the NFL in 2012 for highest average ranking. And in the long-established special teams rankings done annually by the Dallas Morning News, incorporating 22 categories of special teams play, the ’12 Bengals ranked second in the league.
Among Cincinnati's top rankings were a third in lowest opponent net punting average, fourth in highest team net punting average and sixth in fewest yards allowed per kickoff return.
Simmons works intensively with the three “true specialist” positions on his unit—the punter, placekicker and long snapper—and all three positions have delivered top-drawer performances for the Bengals in recent years:
- Punter Kevin Huber set Bengals records in 2012 for gross average (46.6 yards), net average (42.0) and inside-20 punts (33). Huber has worked under Simmons his entire career and is now also the team’s all-time career leader in gross average (44.0) and net average (38.9).
- K Mike Nugent set Bengals records in 2011 for points (132) and field goals (33). Last year, Nugent was having another fine season, including a tied-for-team-record 55-yard field goal, before an injury shelved him in September. The Bengals replaced him with Josh Brown, a veteran who had been “on the street” all season, and Brown came on to go 13-for-14 on FGs in five games (including postseason), with a 43-yard game-winner in the closing seconds of a playoff-clinching win at Pittsburgh.
- LS Clark Harris has never had an unplayable snap as a Bengal. His total count is 552.
Simmons has also been the only Bengals coach for the two punt returners with the highest Cincinnati career averages – Brandon Tate (10.1) and Quan Cosby (10.0).
Simmons's Bengals special teams have shown a nose for the ball, forcing 23 fumbles in his 10 completed seasons. The 2.3 average more than doubles the 1.0 norm for the nine seasons prior to his tenure.
Simmons entered the NFL in the 1998 season on the same Baltimore Ravens staff as Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who was Ravens defensive coordinator at the time. Simmons was assistant special teams coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Ravens, and he held that same role for the Carolina Panthers from 1999-2002. He joined the Bengals in 2003.
A former college punter himself, Simmons played an integral role at Carolina in the development of Todd Sauerbrun as one of the NFL’s top punters of the time.
Simmons began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Kansas University in 1996. He moved to the University of Minnesota in 1997.
Simmons punted in college for Kansas from 1993-95, earning All-Big Eight honors his final year. As a senior, he helped the Jayhawks to a top 10 national ranking and to an Aloha Bowl victory over UCLA. Also as a Kansas senior, he won honors as an academic All-American.
Prior to playing for Kansas, Simmons was a punter and QB for Dodge City (Kan.) Community College. In 1992 at Dodge City, he led the nation’s junior colleges in punting and was a first-team JUCO All-American.
Simmons earned a degree in sports management from Kansas in 1996.
Born April 9, 1973, in Elkhart, Kan., he graduated from Elkhart High School. He and his wife, Rhonda, have a daughter and two sons.
PLAYING AND COACHING HISTORY 1991-92: Played quarterback and punter at Dodge City (Kan.) Community College. 1993-95: Punter, University of Kansas. 1996: Graduate assistant coach, Kansas. 1997: Assistant coach (AC), University of Minnesota. 1998: AC, Baltimore Ravens. 1999-2002: AC, Carolina Panthers. 2003-12—AC, Bengals. 2013 – Special teams coordinator, Bengals.