NEW ORLEANS, LA. – Former New Orleans Saints head equipment manager Dan Simmons and 19 other NFL equipment managers, assistant coaches, athletic trainers and public relations personnel will be recognized at the first annual ’Awards of Excellence’ event at the Pro Football Hall of Fame from June 29-30. ‘Awards of Excellence’ is a program the Pro Football Hall of Fame launched this past spring to recognize significant contributors to the game.
On Wednesday, July 29, Simmons and his family will meet with other honorees and their families, Pro Football Hall of Fame executives and Pro Football Hall of Fame members at a cocktail reception. On Thursday, after touring the facility, Simmons and the other recipients will be honored at an awards luncheon, where Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts will serve as master of ceremonies. Simmons will return to the Pro Football Hall of Fame during enshrinement week in August when former Black and Gold LB Sam Mills is posthumously inducted. Simmons and his fellow award winners will be recognized in a display inside a designated area of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Simmons, affectionately nicknamed “Chief’ provided 42 years of service to the Saints in the equipment department, starting in 1973 and through the 2014 season. Since his retirement as head equipment manager, he has served as an alumni/legends coordinator, assisting in the club’s outreach efforts to involve former players with the organization and is also a club contact with the NFL’s Legends Program, which is designed to help former NFL players connect with each other, their former teams and the league.
Simmons worked a total of 858 New Orleans Saints preseason, regular season and postseason games. He was a member of ten playoff teams as head equipment manager and celebrated the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV Championship. During his Saints career as head equipment manager, he handled the equipment needs for thousands of players during the tenures of 14 of the franchise’s first 16 head coaches.
Simmons’ dedication to the Saints has been nationally recognized prior this week’s honor, showing his continuing devotion and service to the franchise and to the NFL. At the 2015 NFL Equipment Managers Meetings, Simmons was honored with a lifetime achievement award by his colleagues from all 32 clubs. In 2010, he was elected into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame, along with late Assistant Equipment Manager Silky Powell, as that year’s Joe Gemelli “Fleur-De-Lis” Award winners. Following the 1994 and 2005 seasons, Simmons and his staff were selected in a vote by their peers for the Whitey Zimmerman Memorial award, annually given to the NFL equipment staff that exceeds the usual demands to the position.
A St. Louis, Mo. native, Simmons’s late father Bill held a similar post with the St. Louis Cardinals football franchise for 22 years, with Dan assisting him on a full-time basis from 1971-72 before coming to New Orleans. A graduate of Meramec College in St. Louis, Simmons is also a Vietnam veteran who served four years in the U.S. Navy. He and his wife, Elaine, have three grown children – Tracy, Tony and Amy – and four grandchildren.
(Credit: New Orleans Saints Press Release)