Former and current Lake
Zurich Varsity Baseball players and coaches recently got together to honor and
pay respect to Gary Simon, longtime varsity coach at Lake Zurich High School.
Simon's contract to coach the varsity team was not renewed for next year and as a result, the players held a celebration to thank Coach Simon for his leadership and dedication to the program at Lake Zurich.
“Coach Simon has done so much for the program,” said Tony Drago, one of Simon's assistant coaches. “ A new score board, dugouts and other improvements were made to the field under Coach Simon's leadership”.
Simon also organized summer baseball camps and workout programs in the winter to develop local youth and provide players an opportunity to develop their skills. Simon also worked closely with the Lake Zurich American Legion Post baseball team and coordinated player assignments between the legion and the high school summer team to help players get more playing time with both teams.
While it is clear that Simon knows his baseball, it is also widely known that he cared for his players as people and students.
“After a fire at our home, Coach Simon offered me a place to stay at his home while we looked for temporary housing. He would have taken in our whole family if needed,” said Michael Mulder, a pitcher on this years team.
“Coach Simon really knows baseball and is passionate about the game. He taught us so much about the game and also to be better people through his words (and long stories) – but mostly his actions,” said Tanner Kiser, an All-Conference First Baseman on the varsity team this past year.
“We hope he is back on the field again soon” said Anthony Drago, who played 3 years on the varsity team for coach Simon and was an All Conference Catcher on this year’s team. “I don't know of anyone who is more knowledgeable about the game than Coach.”
“And he proved it when he would give one of his long and famous stories after a equally long practice!” joked James DeGeorge, another All-Conference player on this years team.
It's clear from the sincere comments and good-natured ribs of players and many parents, Simon will be missed.