Former USC Sprinter Michael Simmons Dies

March 6, 2008

Michael Simmons, a sprinter on USC's 1976 NCAA championship track team who ran on a pair of NCAA winning 400-meter relay teams and captained the 1979 Trojans, died on Wednesday (March 5) in Altadena, Calif., of cancer. He was 51.

A funeral service will be held on Monday (March 10) at 10:30 a.m. at St. Agatha Catholic Church (2646 S. Mansfild Ave., Los Angeles 90016). Burial will follow at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills (6300 Forest Lawn Dr., Los Angeles 90068).

Simmons, a 4-year (1975-77, 1979) Trojan letterman, ran the second leg on the USC sprint relay teams that won NCAA titles in 1975 and 1977 (and finished third in 1976). He also was on Troy's 1600-meter relay squad that placed fourth at the 1975 NCAA meet.

He was a member of USC's 400-meter relay quartets that won 3 Pac-8 titles (1975-77) and the 1600-meter relay team that won the 1975 Pac-8 crown. USC won the conference team title in 1975, 1976 and 1977.

As a junior in 1977, Simmons was third in the Pac-8 100 meters and sixth in the 200.

He redshirted the 1978 season, but competed for the Tobias Striders. He ran the second leg on the Striders' 800-meter relay team that clocked the fastest time ever (1:20.3), but it wasn't recognized as a world record because the squad was non-homogenous in nationality.

His 1979 senior season at USC was cut short by a leg injury.

He posted best times of 10.31 in the 100 meters, 20.87 in the 200 and 47.5 in the 400.

Simmons came to USC from Carson (Calif.) High, where he was the runner-up in the 100 and 200 in the state and L.A. City championships as a 1974 senior.

He was a graduate assistant track coach at USC in 1980, then was a program director at Boeing.

He recently served as a vice president of the Trojan Force, a USC track booster group. Last month, he received the USC track program's Fight On Award, given for competitive spirit, and the award will now be known as the Michael Simmons Fight On Award.

He is survived by his wife, Pamela, and sons, Ryan, who lettered as a sprinter on USC's 2005 and 2007 track teams, Myles and Austin.

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