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Springstead hires former Florida State hoopster Oliver Simmons as boys coach

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Tue. April 13, 2010 | Izzy Gould | Email

Springstead has hired the man it hopes can bring a fresh image to the boys basketball program and resuscitate a team one year removed from playing for a state championship.

The Eagles hired Oliver Simmons, athletic director Bob Levija said Tuesday afternoon. Simmons played college basketball at Florida State after one season at Kentucky. He coached Orlando Olympia to a 37-32 record with two Class 6A district runnerup finishes in 2005-06 and '06-07. He also coached high school and junior college basketball in Texas.

"I just met him today and showed him around campus for a few hours," said Levija, who was not involved in the hiring process. "He's outstanding."

Simmons replaces Steve Thompson, who was fired after one season. Simmons will teach physical education at the school, starting Wednesday.

Thompson had his teaching contract terminated during the probationary period after the Times began an investigation into his credentials. A closer look revealed Thompson had lied extensively on his resume about hundreds of coaching victories. He also claimed to work at two schools that did not exist during the dates, which he provided.

(Read about the Thompson investigation. Read the Times' editorial.)

Thompson guided the Eagles to a 6-18 finish and a playoff berth after one win in the Class 5A, District 7 tournament.

igould@tampabay.com

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