Nikki Simpson coached the Ironwood Ridge girls’ basketball team to an incredible 82-38 record in her four years with the program. Her short run included a semifinal appearance in 2015 and her roster was loaded with quality players both on and off the court.
AllSportsTucson.com asked Simpson to give us her thoughts on what she accomplished and on what she will be doing.
In her own words:
“Well, I can tell you that some of the greatest joys of my life have been being an aunt, being a big sister, being a teacher and being the head coach at Ironwood Ridge.
The parents organized a goodbye party for me on Saturday so that was fun. I have loved being a part of the community at IRHS. I felt that through our program we were able to develop a connection with many of the staff members and other coaches. I had wonderful coaching colleagues there. The parents were very supportive and positive.
The kids were great. I was so proud of their successes on the court and even more proud of their successes in the classroom. We were able to watch girls graduate and go onto college with basketball scholarships and academic scholarships. We have former players being accepted into honors programs, selected for elite internships and playing basketball all around the country.
One thing I love about our program is the community we have built thorough it. Former players will come to our games and sit right in the front row. We had a great turn out especially at the Christmas tournament in terms of alumni.
Coach Lonnie Tvrdy (Pusch Ridge) even complimented our turnout for alumni. I am still in touch with many of those girls to this day.
Yes, we did amazing things on the basketball court with back-to-back 20 plus win seasons, state tournament victories and many more accolades but ultimately I’m more encouraged by the character of the student-athletes we’ve produced that any basketball award.
I’m so looking forward to following and supporting the team next season while I pursue my Master’s Degree and spend more time with my family.”
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com