Charlotte Christian’s Greg Simmons, a 16-time state champion, dies after cancer battle

NELL REDMOND/Special to the Observer

When Hal Bagwell got the news that 16-time state championship baseball coach Greg Simmons had died, he said he didn’t know how to feel.

“It’s just an empty feeling,” said Bagwell, the longtime South Mecklenburg and Ardrey Kell baseball coach about to start his third year at Indian Land (SC) High. “It’s a sad, sad day, not only for the baseball community but for the Charlotte Christian community. He just had such a positive impact on so many people in such a great way, and he was one of the most humble men I’ve ever known.”

Simmons died after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 57.

Simmons started teaching at Charlotte Christian in 1989 and took over the baseball team in 1992, building one of the state’s most dominant programs.

In 30 years with the Knights, Simmons’ teams won 733 games and 16 state titles. His teams also won 22 CISAA conference titles and Simmons coached 95 players who played in college and 10 who became Major League draft picks.

In 2016, Simmons was inducted into the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

He was named regional coach of the year by the Charlotte Observer five times. No N.C. private school baseball coach had as many wins as he did.

His final team, last spring, won the state title, too.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Renee, and their family — sons, Tyler, Matt and Hank, and four grandchildren, and we pray that God will bless and comfort them in the days ahead,” Charlotte Christian head of school Barry Giller said.

Simmons played baseball at Liberty University from 1986-88 for former New York Yankee great Bobby Richardson, and also served as a graduate assistant coach during the 1989 season.

His passing comes during the same week that longtime Charlotte Christian football coach Jason Estep resigned after winning eight state championships in 17 seasons.

Bagwell, who won a public school state title at Ardrey Kell in 2009, said Simmons will leave a legacy like no other.

“He’s probably the top coach ever out of this county,” Bagwell said. “But this is just awful news. He made an unbelievable contribution to people and kids. It’s immeasurable really. He’ll be sorely missed, man, that’s for sure.”

Social Media Condolences

Simmons was honored by many on social media Saturday. A sampling

PHOTO GALLERY: Charlotte Christian coach Greg Simmons