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Syracuse men’s lacrosse: Roy Simmons III retirement marks the end of an incredible era

The Simmons family has been synonymous with Syracuse lacrosse for a century.

2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship - First Round

June 30, 2022 is a date that will hold significance in the history of the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse program.

It is the date that Roy Simmons III officially retires from the Syracuse lacrosse program, bringing to an end one of the greatest familial dynasties in the history of organized sport.

The legendary Simmons family has had at least one member as part of Syracuse lacrosse as either a player, coach, or staff member stretching back a full century — yes, you read that last word correctly. That run concludes today.

It all started back in the 1920s when Roy Sr. joined the men’s lacrosse team for his final two years as a student-athlete. After graduating in 1925, Sr. started his coaching career right away. It was 1931 when he took over the head coaching role of the men’s lacrosse team, where he would remain for four decades until retiring in 1970.

He, of course, handed the program over to his son, the legendary Roy Jr., who head coached the Orange from 1971 until 1998.

Roy III is the third of four generations, with the fourth being his son Ryan, to have coached and/or played for SU.

He’s been involved with the program for more than 30 years and three separate stints that began as a player for his father from 1978-81. He began coaching under his father in two stints from 1982-86 and 1989-92.

His third and final stint with the program began in 1999, the year that John Desko took over for his father. Simmons served as the defensive coordinator from 99-07, and then transitioned over to offensive coordinator for the 2008 and 2009 national title seasons.

Ever since, Simmons has been working as the director of operations for the program, where he was still always visible on the sideline on game day with the rest of the coaching staff.

It’s a little overwhelming to think about the sheer amount of time that the Simmons family has been involved in the business of building, maintaining, and growing Syracuse lacrosse. The level of success that have achieved is unmatched from both a family and a program perspective.

But it’s the lives they’ve impacted along the way that is perhaps their greatest and most meaningful achievement. Just ask former Orange All-American goalie and captain Rob Mulligan:

After all, the extensive, multi-generational family that is Syracuse lacrosse was built by them. And even though the name Simmons will no longer appear anywhere on the coaching staff or roster, the achievement and impact they’ve made on this sport, this university, and this community will continue to endure forever.

Congratulations to Roy III on an incredible career and good luck in retirement. We look forward to seeing him up in the box on game days next season.