Brent Simmons’ life is summed up by quoting the criteria and inscription relating to the Nissen Award, “Since 1966 the Nissen Award has been presented to the Outstanding Senior NCAA Gymnast as determined by a national vote of Coaches, Judges and Athletes, The qualifications for the award are that the winner must be an example of good sportsmanship and fair play, a champion in defeat as well as in victory and must maintain a high standard of scholarship throughout his college career. The true champion seeks excellence physically, mentally, socially and morally.”
World Championships: Brent Simmons was a member of the men’s U.S. World Championships Teams in 1970 and 1974. He also competed in the Russian Invitational in 1971. Pan American Games: Simmons competed in the 1971 Pan American Games and earned the team silver medal and the bronze medal on the horizontal bar. U.S. Sr. National Championships: Brent was national champion winning U.S. titles on the parallel bars in 1971 and on the horizontal bar in 1974. A.A.U. Sr. National Championships: 1971-5th AA, 2nd FX, 1st PB; 1975-3rd AA, 1st PB, 2nd HB; 1976-2nd HB. Collegiate Career: Simmons began his collegiate career in 1968, but got his first taste of the national spotlight as a junior in 1970, where he won a trio of Big Eight titles in the vault, high-bar and all-around. In 1971 The Cyclones won the Big Eight Championship and finished second at the NCAA Championship. Simmons won three Big Eight titles again. Simmons led the Iowa State men’s team to the NCAA team title, the program’s first national title in school history, as well as won the parallel bars and the horizontal bar titles, (1971). He also placed 2nd in the AA and 3rd on Vault. He was also the 1971 recipient of the Nissen Award, presented annually to the nation’s outstanding senior gymnast, and was an All-American on four events. Judging: Brent Simmons has been a national or F.I.G. brevet judge for 25 years and served as the master scorer on men’s vault at the 1996 Olympic Games. Education: Simmons earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State and a master’s degree in sport management from East Stroudsburg University. Brent was induced into the Iowa State University Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. He currently works in regional sales for Midwest Gymnastics Supply, Inc. Brent reports that, “I have tried to stay active competitively over the years and just recently finished 14th at the UIM World Championships for boat racing in Lake Alfred, Florida.” Family: Married former gymnast Celeste Stevens from Ames Iowa in 1973. Son Ryan is an art history graduate from the University of Pittsburgh and is an avid soccer fan. Daughter Bree is finishing her family residency at St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana and hopes to do a fellowship next year in sports medicine at a school that supports gymnastics.
Sources: Nissen award inscription. Action photos courtesy of the Iowa State University Athletic Department and Brent Simmons. Data collected from public sources and from Brent Simmons. Formatting by 2008-2010 Web Manager Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who-2010. Editing by Dr. Larry Banner, 1993 GHOF Inductee & 1894-2007 Web Manager.