Photo: Hutch News
The USD 231 Board of Education and administration is pleased to announce the hiring of the new Gardner Edgerton High School Head Football Coach, Associate Head Football Coach, and Strength and Conditioning Coach. Contracts were approved on Monday, January 8, 2018, for Ryan Cornelsen, Chris Watkins and Mark Simoneau for the 2018-2019 school year.
“We are excited to bring these three awarded individuals into our athletic department at Gardner Edgerton High School,” said John Sedler, GEHS Athletic Director. “Their extensive experience and knowledge will positively impact our programs and athletes of all sports. We look forward to having them on our team.”
Ryan Cornelsen will assume the duties of Head Football Coach and Assistant Track and Field Coach on July 1, 2018. Cornelsen is in his 15th year as a head football and track coach. During that time, he compiled a 116-40 record with a 6A State Runner-up finish in 2014 while at Hutchinson.
Cornelsen earned conference and district titles six different times, and earned three regional championship titles. As a track and field coach, Cornelsen attained five State Championships. Prior to accepting the position at Gardner Edgerton High School, Cornelsen taught and led teams as a head coach at LaCrosse, Hays, and Hutchinson high schools. Cornelsen was named Midwest Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2011.
Cornelsen earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Physical Education/Sports Administration in 2001 and 2002, respectively, from Fort Hays State University.
Chris Watkins will assume the position of Associate Head Football Coach on July 1, 2018. Watkins brings 22 years of coaching experience to GEHS. He most recently served as defensive coordinator for the past eight years at Shawnee Mission Northwest High and Hays High School. Prior to those positions, Watkins had 10 years of head coaching responsibilities in three other Kansas high school football programs.
Watkins is a native of Ness City, Kan., and played collegiate football at Garden City Community College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Science Education from Fort Hays State University.
Mark Simoneau will assume the duties of Strength and Conditioning Instructor/Coach for all sports beginning summer 2018. Simoneau is a well-known name in the Kansas City area. He is a Super Bowl Champion, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, who combines a wealth of experience in all levels of football with his strength and conditioning expertise.
Simoneau enjoyed an illustrious collegiate career at Kansas State from 1996-99, leading the Wildcats to a victory in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl. He became the second-ever Kansas State Wildcat to be voted into the College Football Hall of Fame and was voted into the Kansas State Ring of Honor in 2008.
After college, Simoneau completed an 11-year NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons as a linebacker and special teams ace. He was a member of the Saints from 2006-09 and appeared in 32 games with 30 starts and earned a Super Bowl Championship after the Saints topped the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
Most recently in 2017, Simoneau was the linebacker coach and strength and conditioning coach at Blue Valley Southwest High School in Overland Park, Kan. He received his coaching start in 2016 at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kan., coaching the school’s linebackers.
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Simoneau founded Simoneau Sports Performance in 2011. The Simoneau Sports Performance center focuses on maximizing the potential of athletes by achieving measurable results through a competitive training environment that focuses on proper technique and positive attitudes. An NSCA certified strength and conditioning specialist with Level 3 coaching accolades through the Poliquin International Certification Program, Simoneau is the head strength coach at the 9,000 square-foot facility and oversees a staff that assists taking athletes to the next level.