ST. LEO, Fla. – Mike Simmons has the lacrosse gene flowing through his body.
Simmons always knew he wanted to play the game and started when he was in the third grade. He got the love of the sport from his father.
“My dad played in college. He kind of introduced me to the sport,” Simmons said. “He’s a big influence in my life for that part.”
Charles Simmons played his lacrosse at Norwich University, a private military school in Northfield, Vt.
“My dad’s a military guy,” Mike said, sitting in the bleachers at the Lions’ home field. “He was in the military from 1994-2002.”
Simmons knows that playing lacrosse at the college level isn’t always about the game, that getting good grades and an education is the most important part of being at school.
“For college athletes, if you want to play you have to focus on your grades a lot,” he said. “If you want to keep playing at the college level you have to keep the grades up, or you will not be able to be part of the team.”
He credits coach Brad Jorgensen for the extra push to focus on grades and still being able to perform on the field when needed.
“Coach is the best. He is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had growing up and playing,” Simmons said. “He’s a great guy and really understanding when it comes to the players.”
Jorgenson is strict when needed, but the connection is still there.
“He genuinely cares about the players here, and not just about the school. He’s really proud about his players’ success, and knows the academic life is important for the all the players.”
Simmons, originally from Cherry Hill, N.J., has appeared in five games during his sophomore year.
The lacrosse team was a big reason he made the decision to attend Saint Leo, and considers it a bond that will last.
“The team was really good,” he said. “All the guys on the team are great. We are all basically a brotherhood with everyone. I basically have 42 best friends on this team.”
Simmons knows they still have time before they have to worry about playoffs, but “we have all the talent in the world to make it. This is definitely our year to bring home that championship.”