With a heavy heart, Vanguard Athletics has learned that former assistant basketball coach Walt Simon has gone to be with the Lord. Walt spent over a decade faithfully serving Lions basketball, first with seven years on the men's team before switching over the coach the perennial powerhouse on the women's side.
"Walt Simon was more than a coach at Vanguard; he was a man of integrity who loved coaching and teaching young people more than just basketball. It was about teaching them life lessons," head women's basketball coach Russ Davis said. "We all loved his stories, but more importantly we loved how he would do anything for you no matter what time or how hard it might be. He loved helping his players and Vanguard basketball. He was the perfect example of a loyal friend and assistant; he always had my back. Walt you lived a great life and a true blessing to everyone...thank you my friend."
Simon began his outstanding basketball career at Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles where he received All-State and All-American honors. In 2014, he was inducted into the Rough Rider Hall of Fame. After high school, he took his talents to Fullerton College where he was two-time JC State Player of the Year for the Hornets. He holds the two-year California Total State Scoring Record. Playing from 1964-66, Simon amassed 1,7-8 points in only 63 games – averaging over 27 points per night. After those two successful years at Fullerton, he earned a full scholarship to the University of Utah where he averaged 15 points per game and was an All-League player. In 1968, he was drafted into professional basketball by the Seattle Sonics of the NBA, and the Denver Rockets of the ABA.
Simon's coaching experiences include working with youth basketball, high school, junior college, NCAA Division I, and professionally in America and Europe. At the college level, he has worked for Fresno State, CSU Fullerton, Fullerton College, Concordia, and Point Loma and has also helped at Mater Dei High School and with AAU Basketball. In the mid 1970's, Simon was the Head Coach for a European professional team. In addition, he is the founder of Basic Basketball School where he and other instructors work to develop players' basketball skills and their knowledge of the game.
"Walt was a strong man who loved people, had a passion for the game of basketball and coaching," former Vanguard University Director of Athletics Bob Wilson proudly said. "He had an unbelievable impact on many student-athletes and he will be greatly missed by all."
Vanguard University's gym, affectionately nicknamed The Pit, will greatly miss Walt during his private lessons with young kids from the OrangeCounty area all the way to the prospective NBA players he and his son Miles trained through Basic Basketball school.
Davis went on to say, "Walt loved his family and he loved boasting about them any chance he had. Thank you to his immediately family for sharing him with us and he will always be a part of the Vanguard family. I know Walt is in heaven right now selecting his pickup basketball team to start up a game with, but only after he was able to see his beloved mother."
Walt leaves behind his wife Su Jin, his two grown children Charisse and Miles, and eight grandkids.
Pictured above: (clockwise) Walt playing basketball with his grandson Cam at Vanguard University, Walt with NBA star Kevin Durant after the 2015 USA Basketball Camp in Las Vegas, Walt and his son Miles in the Vanguard University gym after one of their training sessions, and Walt with his wife, son, and daughter-in-law at his high school Hall of Fame celebration.