Steven Simpson, head football coach at GMC Prep for the last six years and athletic director for the last seven, has accepted the defensive coordinator position at Warren County High School.
Simpson told The Union-Recorder he had planned on remaining at GMC Prep next school year, but the Class A high school located in Warrenton made a strong push to bring him on board.
“I really wasn’t looking for it, but they came with a very good offer,” Simpson said. “In the long run, it’s going to give me more time at home with my children. My son’s going into his freshman year of high school and my daughter’s really getting involved in softball it really felt like the right time to make a move for my children.”
The new Warren County defensive coordinator says his family’s home will remain in Baldwin County, so he will commute to his new job in Warrenton while both his children continue attending GMC Prep. Although an hour and a half round trip to and from work each day doesn’t sound like it will create much more time for family, Simpson says it will in the long run since he will no longer be shouldering the many added responsibilities of an athletic director on top of being a head football coach.
Coach Simpson departs GMC Prep to be part of the Warren County staff under head coach Cherard Freeman, who is about to begin his seventh season as a Screaming Devil. In addition to his defensive coordinator duties, Simpson will also serve as the boys track coach in the fall. Making his new position all the more attractive is that he’ll have highly sought after football recruit Lovasea Carroll for the next two seasons.
“That never hurts, and he runs track too,” Simpson said.
A University of South Carolina verbal commit and rising junior, Carroll plays both outside linebacker and running back for the Devils. The young man is currently being recruited as an athlete as programs determine where he’ll fit best.
“Right now he still plays outside linebacker. I’ve just got to make sure Coach Freeman doesn’t try to make him a full-time offensive guy,” Simpson said with a laugh.
The decision to leave GMC Prep was not one taken lightly by Simpson, who says he talked about it with his family for a week before even making the trip over to Warren County to discuss the job in-person. Simpson has been a full-time teacher/coach for the last 12 years at GMC Prep, having served as a community coach before that. GMC is where he proposed to his wife on the court between basketball games and where he got his first win as a high school head football coach. Both serve as major milestones in his personal and professional lives.
“That first win as a head football coach really stands out,” he said. “That’s something I remember a lot about and am really fond of. Early on we were in a tight ballgame, so at that point, I was concerned. You get so caught up in everything because you’re worried about doing the right thing, but we were able to pull away and win. All of a sudden somebody came up and handed me a ball that was signed and had the final score on it, and that’s when it hit me — I had just won my first game as a head coach… At that time you’re really hoping that’s the first of many.”
Simpson got to broaden his coaching horizons in what turned out to be his final spring at GMC Prep when he had to fill in as a coach for the varsity boys soccer team. The program already had strong direction under a community coach, but the GHSA stipulates that a member of the school’s faculty must be on the staff so onto the soccer field Simpson went for the back half of the season. As fate would have it, the 2019 season was a banner one for GMC Prep boys soccer as they won the GHSA Class A-Public state championship just a few weeks ago. Simpson says he was glad he got to come along on the ride to the top.
“That was a very rewarding experience for me,” he said. “I tell people the first soccer game I ever watched from beginning to end without missing any of it was the first game I had to coach. The group of kids were just so receptive toward me. They were a great group to be around that really worked hard. They’d joke around but they knew when it was time to work. That group had set a goal and was doing everything they needed to do to reach it. That was something a little different for me. It was really refreshing to me as a coach.”
Simpson’s new team, Warren County, will host his old team, GMC Prep, on Oct. 11 in a Region 7-A football matchup.