Bringing a tremendous knowledge of the collegiate game as well as being a great tutor of players who advance to the professional ranks is Tennessee assistant coach Larry Simcox.
Having just completed his 17th year on Tennessee's coaching staff, Simcox is saddled with a tremendous amount of responsibility. The 23-year coaching veteran wears many hats. He serves as the Vols' infield coach while also assisting with hitting instruction, defensive positioning and coaching third base. He also assists with UT's overall recruiting efforts. In addition, he is the Tennessee baseball camp director and handles all scheduling and promotion of the camps.
With his meticulous attention to defense and an eye for what makes a good player, he has seen a total of 26 Volunteer infielders sign professional baseball contracts. Current major league infielders coached by Simcox include three-time Gold Glove winner Todd Helton (Colorado), Joe Randa (Pittsburgh) and Chris Burke (Houston). Having honed their skills under Simcox's tutelage during their days on Rocky Top, Helton and Burke were both top-10 picks in the MLB Draft in 1995 and 2001, respectively.
"Larry brings a lot of enthusiasm to the game," Vols head coach Rod Delmonico said. "His recruiting ability is unmatched, as is his competence as a defensive coach. That is evidenced by his top-25 classes and clubs that rank at the top of the SEC in fielding."
He held the position of recruiting coordinator from 1991-95 and resumed the role in 1997 for two more years after a one-year absence. His recruiting classes were instrumental in Tennessee's three appearances in the College World Series in 1995, 2001 and 2005. During his first five years as recruiting coordinator, all five classes ranked in the top 25, including three in the top 10. His 1994 class was rated a school-best No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball.
Not only has the recruiting excelled, but the Vols' defense has flourished as well under Simcox's guidance. In 1993 and 1994, Tennessee led the nation in fielding percentage while turning an NCAA-leading 93 double plays in 1994. UT has led the league in fielding four times and has been among the top three in fielding percentage eight times.
Simcox joined Delmonico's staff July 25, 1990 after serving as an assistant coach with the Ole Miss Rebels under legendary coach Jake Gibbs from 1985-90. While at Ole Miss, he handled recruiting and coaching the Rebels infield, as well as being the first-base coach and hitting instructor. He spent two years as a sales representative of Selox, Inc., before being named a full-time assistant on Aug. 1, 1985.
While at Ole Miss, he coached 22 Rebels who signed professional contracts, including six middle infielders. As the chief recruiter, he put together two nationally-ranked recruiting classes. His 1987 class was rated No. 26, and in 1989 he brought in the 20th-best recruiting class.
Simcox played collegiate baseball at Ole Miss, where he graduated in 1982 with a marketing degree. He was the Rebels' starting shortstop for two years after transferring from Cleveland State Community College following his sophomore year. He hit .408 and was named to the junior college All-State team.
As a senior, Simcox was named All-Southeastern Conference after batting a team-high .374 and posting a fielding percentage of .940. During that same season, he had a remarkable batting eye, striking out only one time in 194 plate appearances. The mark stands as an NCAA record for that many appearances. As a junior he hit .336, leading his team to the SEC Tournament and garnering all-tournament honors, as well as being named to the All-SEC West Division squad.
Following his final season, Simcox was drafted by the Houston Astros in the ninth round. He was previously drafted in 1980 by the Cincinnati Reds in the 10th round. He spent three years in professional baseball before tearing his medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments, which eventually forced him to end his playing career. He began in rookie ball with Sarasota in the Gulf Coast League where he hit .287. At the end of the 1981 season, while at Class-A Daytona Beach, he batted .356 as Daytona won the Florida State League title. He began the 1982 season in Daytona, hitting .271 for the Astros and was leading all Florida State League shortstops in fielding percentage before being called up to Class-AA Columbus of the Southern League.
He has produced a videotape entitled, "Infield Play: Fundamentals and Drills," which gives instruction about techniques one should understand and develop while on the road to becoming a better infielder.
A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Simcox graduated from East Ridge High School in 1977. He is married to the former Linda Wallace of Chattanooga, Tenn. They have a daughter, Erin, and a son, Austin.