Photos of Head Equipment Manager Dan Simmons during his 42-year career with the New Orleans Saints.
Following 42 years of service to the New Orleans Saints as the club's head equipment manager, Dan Simmons will retire from the position and assume the post of alumni/legends development coordinator in the organization.
Simmons, the club's longest tenured employee and in his fifth decade with the club, began working for the Saints in his current position on April 1, 1973. Known by the nickname "Chief", he finished his 42nd season with the club in 2014, the only employee to reach the milestone since the club's founding in 1967.
"I told Dan he was too young to retire," said Owner Tom Benson. "I am glad though that he will get to spend more time with his family and even though he is retiring from the equipment department, we still have him on board handling our alumni. I don't think in my sixty-plus years owning businesses that I have met someone as loyal and accountable as Dan has been to the New Orleans Saints. He is a very large part of our success."
In his new position, Simmons will assist in the club's outreach efforts to involve former players with the organization and also will be the club's contact with the NFL's Legends Program, which is designed to help former NFL players connect with each other, their former teams and the league.
"On behalf of the New Orleans Saints, we would like to thank Dan for his service, his loyalty and his countless contributions to our team for the last 42 years," said Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis. "Chief has been an integral part of our organization and will continue to do so in his new capacity, where he will lead our club's expanded efforts to connect with our former players. For that position, there is nobody better to handle that, considering Chief has come in contact with nearly every player who has ever put on a Saints uniform"
Simmons has worked a total of 858 Saints preseason, regular season and postseason games. He was proud to be a member of each of the franchise's 10 playoff teams and celebrated the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV Championship. During his Saints career as head equipment manager, he handled the equipment needs for thousands of players during the tenures of 14 of the franchise's 16 head coaches.
Simmons' dedication to the Saints has been nationally recognized. At the 2015 National Football League Equipment Managers Meetings in Houston, Simmons was honored with a lifetime achievement award by his colleagues from all 32 clubs. In 2010, he was elected into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame, along with former Assistant Equipment Manager Silky Powell, as that year's Joe Gemelli "Fleur-De-Lis" Award winners. Following the 1994 and 2005 seasons, Simmons and his staff were selected in a vote by their peers for the Whitey Zimmerman Memorial award, annually given to the NFL equipment staff that exceeds the usual demands to the position.
A St. Louis, Mo. native, Simmons's father Bill held a similar post with the St. Louis Cardinals football franchise for 22 years, with Dan assisting him on a full-time basis from 1971-72 before coming to New Orleans. A graduate of Meramec College in St. Louis, Simmons is also a Vietnam veteran who served four years in the United States Navy. He and his wife, Elaine, have three grown children – Tracy, Tony and Amy – and four grandchildren