SALADO — Thanks to his father, Ryan Simmons has spent his entire life around the sport of track and field.
Now, Simmons will be following in his footsteps.
Simmons signed a letter of intent Wednesday to throw shot put and discus at Abilene Christian University, the same university his father, David, once threw at after an outstanding high school career of his own.
For Ryan, that was one of many draws for the soon-to-be Division I ACU.
“I’ve known (throwing coach Jerrod Cook) for a while, just from throwing and whatnot,” Simmons said. “And the fact that my dad went there played a big part in the decision. I just really like the environment there and just like the school.”
Simmons — who chose ACU over Tulsa, Texas-San Antonio and Air Force — is a multi-sport athlete at Salado, where he was a standout running back for the Eagles football team this past season.
Simmons played quarterback for the Eagles prior to this season but shifted to running back after he broke his hand in the offseason.
“We did everything we could to get him the ball because he was a tremendous athlete,” head football coach Brent Graham said, “I can’t say enough great things about him.”
David Simmons was quite the athlete, winning a state title as a thrower at Midland in 1980. But he said his son is already better than he was at this point.
“He’s throwing farther than I did,” said David Simmons, who is the Eagles’ track coach.
He called Ryan’s technique a strength, which makes sense considering how long he has been around the sport.
“Ever since I was a kid, I’d go to (dad’s) practices and he’d be coaching people, so I’ve been around the sport a long time,” Ryan Simmons said.
Now, he looks forward to learning new techniques as Abilene Christian coaches said they’d like to see him throw the javelin and hammer as well.
“I’ve been working with the hammer a little bit lately and picking the stuff up trying to get a feel for it,” he said. “I’m excited to try new things and accept the challenge at hand.”