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Football coach hits a home run with baseball

THU.| 4-27-23 | SPORTS

Sports Web Editor JAY TYNDALL

     The 2023 spring baseball season has begun and football coaches Joseph Daniels and Nigel Simmons have stepped up and are leading the JV baseball
     Both Daniels and Simmons are teachers at Rose. Their passion is teaching, coaching and making sure that students get the proper instruction they need. Daniels is a Weightlifting/Physical Education (PE) instructor, and Simmons is an Exceptional Children (EC) teacher.
     “My dad was a PE teacher and basketball coach,” Daniels said. “I have wanted to do this since my freshman year in high school.”
     The passion to coach for these two began early in their high school careers. Simmons and Daniels realized that coaching would be something they wanted to pursue.


Photo by Owen Simmons

     “I started coaching softball when I was a student teaching in Horseheads, NY,” Simmons said. “Then after I graduated, moved back home, started as an assistant JV football coach for my alma mater Guilderland High School and I was eventually promoted from the JV to Varsity staff after three years of baseball at Guilderland.”              Both of these coaches come from separate backgrounds and grew up playing many sports. Simmons grew up playing hockey, baseball and football and ended up pursuing football at the Division III level. Daniels focused on baseball as a kid in a community that took baseball seriously. Ultimately, opportunities came his way in the form of football where he ended up playing offensive guard at North Carolina State University.

     “I can say that coaching baseball has given me a much deeper understanding of the game itself, strategies, best practices, etcetera.” Simmons said. “I guess when I played baseball I never really thought about the ‘whys’ behind
doing stuff, I just played the game, but coaching the sport has really made me work on understanding the ‘whys’ and strategies.”
     While both of these coaches mainly focus on football, they have had to learn to adapt to coaching both baseball
and football.

     “I came into this role late so I had a lot of catching up to do, “Daniels said. “I had to learn about the players and their abilities which had to be done in a short amount of time.”
     Football and baseball are different sports by nature. One of the biggest differences is the intensity and type of energy that the players/coaches bring.
     “In football, I can run around and be about as crazy and intense as I like,” Simmons said. “However with baseball, I have to be a little more loose and relaxed with things as our players need to be able to play loose so they are not making errors or gripping the bat too tight.”
     Coaching baseball is making Daniels and Simmons better coaches.
     “Coaching different sports [much like playing different sports] makes you a better overall coach and athlete,” Simmons said. “I have had to take different perspectives and lessons and apply them to different things.”
     Balancing the demands of teaching and coaching two sports is not an easy task, however these two are making sure everyone is staying ready and prepared.
     “I have some great colleagues led by Coach Bland who help me out in the weight room when I have to go to baseball practices and games,” Daniels said. “I also have a group of players I consider weight room captains that help make sure all players get a tough workout which helps me a lot.”

     Although these two coaches have had a different year, they have learned and are enjoying coaching baseball together.

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