Hampden-Sydney launches athletic endowment

Published 4:20 pm Friday, May 26, 2023

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At its annual banquet on Saturday, April 15, the Hampden-Sydney College soccer program announced the creation of the Dr. James Young Simms Jr. Athletic Endowment.

Named in honor of the program’s founder and longest-tenured coach, the endowment was established in 2022 by Lance Lavenstein ‘71 to honor Coach Simms for his impeccable work ethic, commitment to Hampden-Sydney men on the field and in the classroom, service to this College, and the countless lives of H-SC alumni he has impacted. The Simms Endowment shall be reserved exclusively for supporting, developing, and strengthening the soccer program of Hampden-Sydney College.

“Coach Simms laid the foundation for this program and has been an integral part of Hampden-Sydney soccer and our college as a whole for many years now,” said head soccer coach Tommy DiNuzzo. “We could not be more appreciative of Lance’s gift that ensures that Coach’s legacy will live on and continue to positively impact our current players.”

Dr. Simms founded the Hampden-Sydney Soccer program in 1969 and led the team as head coach for 12 years, phasing the team into the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). During his tenure, Simms led the team to 50 victories, including a high-water mark of seven wins during the 1976 season. He was inducted into the H-SC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.

“H-SC is a better college because Jim Simms dedicated his life to its students both on the field and in the classroom” said Bill Flowers, from the Class of ‘71, who helped Dr. Simms found the program.


“Coach Simms was our most passionate cheerleader,” said George Hamner. He graduated in the Class of ‘73. “It made him a wonderful mentor and advisor for any young man who asked for advice on life.”

Dr. Simms was in attendance at the soccer program’s banquet and was joined by many of his former players to celebrate the creation of the endowment, including Flowers, Hamner, Bob Harris ‘72, Robert Cumbia ‘75, Mike Harrison ‘76, Jimmy Lewis ‘77, and David Holt ‘78.

Dr. Simms earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland and his doctorate from the University of Michigan and joined the College as a professor of history in 1968. As a professor, he was awarded several National Endowment of the Humanities grants as well as a fellowship at the Russian Research Center at Harvard University. He specialized in Russian agriculture–peasant well-being–in late Imperial Russia and is a co-editor and co-author of Modernization and Revolution: Dilemmas of Progress in Late Imperial Russia. Dr. Simms retired in 2009 as Elliott Professor of History.