Simmons named interim athletic director of GSU


Before the end of the spring semester, former interim President Dr. Cynthia Warrick announced that Dr. Obadiah Simmons would assume the role as interim athletic director of Grambling State University. This became effective May 1.

Now, Simmons will oversee the university’s 17 athletic programs. He is also the interim head of the Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies; however, he said there wouldn’t be a conflict working both positions. 

Since assuming this position, Simmons has started to re-structure the process of auditing the academic progress of the student-athletes for all sports at Grambling State.

“(My) immediate plans are to facilitate the ‘close-out’ of the department’s financial records and related obligations inclusive of preparing for the annual audit,” said Simmons. 

Simmons replaced Arthur Small, the assistant athletic director for business, who took over as a day-to-day athletic director after Patricia Cage-Bibbs took an extended medical leave. 

“I’d very much like to create a culture of ‘excellence’ within the Athletic Department with a specific focus on achieving academic and athletic ‘balance,’” said Simmons. “In doing so, I’d really like to engage my colleagues among the faculty in a partnership to identify additional opportunities.” 

Warrick reached out to Simmons a couple of weeks before May to see if he would consider the position. His term as interim athletic director is from May 1 to June 30. The new GSU president, Dr. Willie Larkin, is expected to hire a permanent athletic director.

Other plans that Simmons has for the Athletic Department are not limited to updating the departmental operations manual, initiate the strategic planning process for the next five years and assist with finalizing all agreements, contracts and related items in preparation for the department’s 2015 fall schedule.

Simmons has worked at Grambling State University for 35 years. He earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Secondary Education from GSU in 1974 and was a three-year baseball letterman.

He later earned his master’s degree in physical education from North Carolina in 1976 and his doctoral degree in education administration from Texas A&M University in 1988. 

In the next two months, Simmons plans to make a smooth transition for the next permanent athletic director.