Steve Simpson/Clint Merritt

Chapman Director of Athletics Clint Merritt, left, welcomes Steve Simpson as the new track coach at Chapman High School.

CHAPMAN ­— Retirement didn’t last long for former Abilene head football and track coach Steve Simpson as he was hired to be the head track coach at Chapman High School on Monday.

“My sister, who is a retired teacher, told me retirement wouldn’t last a year,” Simpson said with a laugh. “I never really wanted to retire anyway. I wanted to teach and coach track for a few more years.”

Simpson who has been on the football sidelines coaching for 45 years as well as coaching track will take over the Irish track program whose coach Anna Nusser Luke is leaving the district. Simpson will also coach middle school football and teach physical education at the middle school.

The veteran Simpson brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Chapman programs according to Director of Athletics Clint Merritt.

“USD 473 is pleased to announce that Steve Simpson has been hired to teach physical education at Chapman Middle School,” Merritt said in a release. “He will also take over the CHS head track position and will be head football coach at the middle school.”

Simpson’s career has taken him across the state of Kansas working at several stops along the way. He coached at Baileyville B&B, Perry LeCompton, Stafford, Sublette and most recently in Abilene for the last six seasons. He also was head coach at Dodge City Community College during a couple of employments when also coaching football.

His stay at Sublette was highlighted by a state championship in boys track and he also coached one at Perry LeCompton. Simpson’s girls team at Sublette finished second once and third once under his direction. He worked with 15 individual state champions during his time at Sublette.

Since being in Abilene, the Cowboys and Cowgirls produced five individual championships in track and field. Sydney Burton was a two-time state champion and Ben Veach claimed the gold medal in long jump for the Cowboys. Under coach Simpson, relays have been strong while at Abilene. Burton was a member of the Cowgirl state champion 4x800M relay along with Abby Barnes, Beth Holmes and Savannah Stout. The Cowboys produced a state champion 4x400M relay team with Trey Bender, Andrew Schwarting, Michael Anguiano and Harley Hazlett.

“I really wanted to coach track this year with the group of kids we had lined up in Abilene,” he said. “But the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to that. I feel bad for those kids that didn’t get to compete this spring, especially the seniors.

“I am really excited to be a part of the Chapman district and look forward to the opportunities there,” Simpson said. “I just really wanted to teach and coach for a few more years and the opportunity was here. Chapman has some great kids in the track program and I am eager to work with them. I love working with kids no matter where I am at.”

While Abilene was his first orange school in his coaching closet, Chapman will be his first green team too.

“I’ve never worn green before,” Simpson said with a laugh. “But they tell me it looks good on me.”

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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