Terry Simmons looks back fondly at his time at U

Terry Simmons was a tight end and punter for the Gophers from 1977-79. His son, Jack, is one of the country's top tight end prospects. Jack committed to Minnesota in August and has led Mundelein (IL) Carmel to a 9-0 start. I got a chance to catch Jack in action this past Friday and talked to Terry about playing for the Gophers and his son following in his footsteps at Minnesota. A story on Jack Simmons will appear later this week.

What do you remember most of your time at Minnesota?


"First of all, beating Michigan 16-0 in 1977 and going to a bowl game. Michigan was ranked number one when we beat them. It was at the old Memorial brick house. It was a great game. That was a very good year. Probably the other part of it was disappointment. We had a lot of talent and never really put it together. So, good things with the victories and disappointments that we just weren't better."


Does it make you happy to hear talk about Minnesota getting a new outdoor stadium?


"First of all, with Jack being recruited up there, one of the discussions is that they are going to move outside. I think football should be outside. Frankly, most of our games that were exciting were all in the Memorial Stadium. The weather was a part of it and it was fun."


What do you remember about your time at Minnesota away from the field?


"Minneapolis is a great city. My friends are still up there. It was just a good part of the country. I went up there for a weekend to be recruited. It was below zero. We went out and did things like ice fishing and snowmobiling and everybody had a good time. People up there just enjoy life. It was just a nice place to go."


You look at the Minnesota roster and they have some familiar names, like Marion Barber III, whose father Marion II you played with?


"I also saw Mark Carlson, whose son is a catcher on the baseball team. It is nice to see guys that I played with that now have sons on the team. Marion's kids are very talented and he'll have two on the team next year. I saw Marion and we are both from Detroit. So it was fun to see some of the guys I played with and know that our kids are going to be together."


What are you doing these days?


I work for Abbott Laboratories as Vice President on Purchasing and Real Estate. It's a job that takes me around the world."


How much were you involved in Jack's recruitment? 


"Illinois, Northwestern, Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin all recruited Jack, along with Minnesota. My dad played in the NFL and his guidance when I was being recruited was just that, guidance. It's your decision. It's your life and I followed the same path. I said to Jack, "This is going to be your decision." Frankly, I liked Northwestern, too. But when he came in on Sunday and said "I'm going to Minnesota, dad," I knew it was his decision. He was ready to go and he has never looked back."


There had been reports that you favored Northwestern. Is that true?


"I wanted to continue to see him grow up. First of all, it is Chicago, so it is close to home. Being a dad, I did not want him to let him go too far away from home. I thought a degree from Northwestern was a proper price to pay. But, I'm not disappointed by Minnesota. I think it is great. It's just far away. But, when you see your kid happy and excited and he's watching the Gophers every Saturday and everyone in the house has Minnesota sweatshirts now, you know what, it's his decision and he's happy. I never went home after leaving Michigan and I know Jack's going to go up to Minnesota and there is a good chance that there is his life now. That's just a hard thing, but I've let it go and he's ready to go."


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