Firmin E. SimmsContributor, 1955-present
Simms began his 35-year tenure (1955-90) with the New Orleans Recreation Department as a volunteer coach at Bunny Friend Playground in the Ninth Ward. He started coaching a limited number of baseball teams but due to his efforts, it grew to over 30 teams, featuring players at all levels, including fellow Greater New Orleans Sports Hall-of-Famer Rusty Staub, who played 23 years in Major League Baseball.
As a coach, he won a record 10 national titles in basketball, while directing teams to a record five World Series titles in Babe Ruth League baseball. Across all sports, Simms' teams won more than 50 district and state titles.
A father of five of his own children and a graduate of Holy Cross, Simms was the key figure in the development of Biddy Basketball leagues. He served as a Biddy coach, then the regional director of the program, followed by being an assistant national director and finally as the overall national director of Biddy Basketball.