Santa Monica College filled two important positions in its athletic department Tuesday, September 9, hiring Gregg Simmons as interim athletic director and Jerome Jenkins as mens’ basketball coach. Simmons began immediately. Jenkins will start Monday, September 15.
Simmons will oversee 16 SMC teams as he replaces Rhonda Hyatt, who recently joined the faculty at College of the Canyons. He will continue until June 30, 2009. Mike Tuitasi, SMC’s Vice-President of Student Affairs, said a national search for a permanent athletic director will begin this semester.
Simmons has 15 years of experience as a coach and administrator. For the last five years he’s been at the San Diego Sports Institute.
Jenkins has been head basketball coach at Sacramento State College for the last eight years with considerable success. The Hornets had double-figure wins in five straight seasons and twice reached the semi-finals of the Big Sky Conference tournament.
Jenkins played at Los Angeles’ Fairfax High and was a guard on that school’s 1985 city championship team. He has also been head coach at Diablo Valley Community College and Eastern Washington University. Clearly, Jenkins’ resume appealed to the SMC committee, which paired down a list of 60 applicants to three finalists, then chose Jenkins after he was interviewed Friday, September 5.
“I was very selective in where I would coach,” Jenkins told the Mirror. “Coming back home intrigued me. I was in Sacramento, but word spreads quickly in the coaching profession and I learned of this opening.
“I’m aware the team had a successful season and won 17 games. I hope to take the program to a higher level.”
Within hours of being selected, Jenkins had phone conversations with Jesse Teplitzky and Joe Cascio. Teplitzky’s resignation for the head coaching job at Cerritos College created the SMC opening. Cascio was Teplitzky’s top assistant and guided the Corsairs through their summer program.
Cascio is interested in remaining on the staff. Jenkins said he will meet with Cascio in a few days and will name his assistants shortly.
Jenkins favors an up-tempo style of play with a pressure defense that creates turnovers. Two of his recent Sacramento State teams averaged 75 points and reached 100 six times. “To play that style, depth is important,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins is 40. He began his head coaching career at 32. SMC and Cerritos aren’t scheduled to play each other next season.