Former Howe High School head football coach Steve Simmons will begin his final year as the physical education teacher at Howe Elementary School in the fall of 2017. Simmons will retire as an educator and coach with a total of 40 years.

“I’ve been doing the elementary (physical education) program here for 30 years, but I’m pretty much welded to the football team,” Simmons said. “I coached Howe for 21 years in football. I’m on the sidelines with them at the games,” Simmons spoke of his current involvement with the football program.

Simmons said he celebrates and looks back fondly on 31 years with the Howe Independent School District as the physical education instructor for Howe Elementary School, as well as the many other hats Simmons has worn throughout his time with Howe. Simmons has been a fixture of the community for decades, especially when he began to welcome the grandchildren of his former students in recent years.

“I have had them here since they were 5 years old,” Simmons said of the generations of Bulldog football players and athletes he has groomed for success both on the playing field and in life.

Simmons takes a great amount of pride and a creative approach to his classes.

“Every class I’ve had in P.E. I’ve named them,” Simmons said. “It’s not a class, it’s a division.”

The first kindergarten division Simmons taught was in 1987 and graduated in 1995. The last kindergarten division Simmons will teach will graduate in 2029. Each division is complete with a unique motto or battle cry.

One of the highlights of Simmons’s time at Howe is the creation of the annual “Day of Champions” track meet.

“We have a track meet instead of a field day,” Simmons said of the event.

The track meet is a school-wide event held at the end of each school year in lieu of a field day. The origins of the Day of Champions dates back to Simmons’s first year when he was instructed by the sitting superintendent of Howe Independent School District to create an organized alternative to the average field day competitions.

“We have done it every year since I was hired,” Simmons said. “The (former superintendent) said he wanted an elementary track meet, he did not want a field day,” Simmons remains as highly enthusiastic today as he was when the first Day of Champions was held 30 years ago.

“We pioneered something I think nobody might not ever do,” Simmons said. “Once I am gone they might not ever do it again.”

At the close of the 2017-2018 school year Simmons will not only leave behind a school community that has come to know him as a cornerstone of Bulldog athletics and a towering legacy having forever shaped generations of Howe athletes and the physical education program at Howe Elementary School.