Victoria Shamrocks announced on March 2 that Mike Simpson will be taking over as head coach. (Photo courtesy of the Victoria Shamrocks)

Victoria Shamrocks announced on March 2 that Mike Simpson will be taking over as head coach. (Photo courtesy of the Victoria Shamrocks)

Victoria Shamrocks name new head coach ahead of 2021 season

Mike Simpson has been promoted from offensive coach to the team’s bench boss

A Victoria Shamrocks organization member with deep roots in the local lacrosse scene will be taking over as the team’s head coach.

Shamrocks offensive coach Mike Simpson will fill the vacant bench boss spot after Bob Heyes moved on from the position last month.

“I am honoured to be able to follow in the footsteps of some of the game’s finest coaches such as Nirmal Dillon, Chris Hall and my great friend Bob Heyes,” Simpson said in a press release. “I believe this is one of the most prestigious coaching positions in all of box lacrosse in any league at any level. I want to thank the Shamrocks executive for giving me this chance to help bring another Mann Cup to Victoria and I can’t wait to get started.”

READ: Victoria Shamrocks make coaching change ahead of 2021 season

The team’s general manager said Simpson has earned the opportunity and proven himself as a leader — as a player, coach and in his career as a firefighter.

“He has the respect of our players and everyone in our organization and I’m confident he’ll do an outstanding job,” Chris Welch said. “We’re very grateful to his family for supporting him to take this on.”

Simpson has been the Shamrocks’ offensive coach since 2017. He started as assistant coach of the Junior A Shamrocks before moving into the head coaching role with the team a year later. He stayed in that position through the 2003 season, accumulating a 63-29 record. Simpson left the team in 2004 to become the first head coach of the National Lacrosse League’s Minnesota Swarm expansion team.

Simpson started his Junior A playing career in 1985 with the Esquimalt Legion. He played with the team until 1989, serving as assistant captain in 1988 and team captain in ‘89. Simpson competed in four Minto Cup during his junior years and won the 1988 championship with Esquimalt — the last Greater Victoria-based team to win the national Junior A crown.

Simpson started playing for the Senior A Shamrocks in 1990. He once again wore the “C” as team captain from 1994 to 1997, played in two Mann Cup championships and won the title during his final playing year in 1997.

The Shamrocks will open the 2021 season at home against the New Westminster Salmonbellies on June 25, if the pandemic doesn’t upend that schedule.


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