Simmons’ hiring is a major coup for Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.
The 41-year-old Simmons is highly regarded in coaching circles and is considered a dynamic recruiter, with strong ties in Texas and California. He had Dahu Green, the state of Oklahoma’s top wide receiver, committed to Washington State until Monday night when Green changed his decision to the Sooners.
Simmons spent the past three seasons coaching Washington State’s outside receivers under Cougars coach Mike Leach. Before that, he was outside receivers coach from 2010-11 at East Carolina with Riley, the Pirates’ offensive coordinator the past five years until he left for Oklahoma last month.
Part of Leach’s original staff at Texas Tech, Simmons spent 10 years with the Red Raiders. He served the last two as wide receivers coach, tutoring star wideout Michael Crabtree in the first of those seasons. Simmons was Leach’s chief of staff from 2005-07 after five years as his assistant athletics director and quality control coach.
In 1999, Simmons was Cornell’s running backs coach and assistant athletics director and chief of staff. He was an assistant at BYU, his alma mater, in 1997, working with the offensive line and special teams.
The Memphis native played outside linebacker for the Cougars from 1993-96.
Oklahoma had a disappointing 8-5 record this past season marred by defensive problems, as evidenced by an embarrassing 40-6 loss to Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Last month, Stoops fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell, the latter of whom had coached the Sooners’ wide receivers.