Bob Simon, the men's associate head basketball coach who has been on the University of Toledo's staff for the past six seasons, said yesterday he is taking a similar position at Fairfield (Conn.) University.
Simon, 43, begins his new duties today under Fairfield coach Ed Cooley, recently hired off the staff at Boston College.
"Working at Toledo has been a terrific opportunity and I've been treated well," Simon said. "I just thought I needed to branch out a little bit at this point of my career, to develop some new contacts and establish myself with a new recruiting base."
Simon coached both men and women at Wayne State (Mich.) University before joining Stan Joplin's staff at UT in 2000.
Joplin said he will consider elevating one of his remaining assistants - Michael Grant and Nate Tuori - to the associate head coach position.
"Regardless, we'll have to post a job opening and go from there," Joplin said. "We're working on it. I've already received a lot of phone calls, so there's considerable interest in the job. I think everybody expects we'll have a pretty good team next season."
The Rockets will return four starters from a 20-win team that caught fire late in the season and advanced to the Mid-American Conference tournament title game.
JACOBS LEAVES: Toledo women's coach Mark Ehlen also has a vacancy on his staff. Assistant coach Amber Jacobs, who has split time while playing professionally in the WNBA, resigned after two seasons on UT's staff.
"Amber had a hard time balancing her coaching responsibilities with the preparation she needed to put in to play for the [Minnesota] Lynx," Ehlen said. "The opportunity to play pro ball only lasts so long, so that's the career she has to focus on now."
JAM FIELD: Toledo's men will be part of a top-notch field that will open next basketball season at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Four teams participated in the recent NCAA tournament and all eight finished with winning records.
Pairings have not been announced for the Nov. 17-20 event, but the participating schools are Villanova (28-5 last season), Iowa (25-9), Xavier (21-11), Alabama (18-13), Virginia Commonwealth (19-10), College of Charleston (17-11), Middle Tennessee State (16-12) and UT (20-11).
"We're going to be competing against a great field, and that should let us know where we stand right away and help us get ready for our conference season," Joplin said.
TOP TIME: Toledo track star Ebba Stenback finished second last weekend in the Penn Relays and posted the top time in NCAA Division I this year in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The senior from Norrkopping, Sweden, finished in 10:13.68, which represents the 25th fastest time in the world this year in that event.
Stenback was named MAC track athlete of the week while teammate April Williams captured the league's weekly field honors. She won both the long jump and triple jump events at the Penn Relays with NCAA regional qualifying marks of 6.05 meters and 12.82 meters, respectively.
They will return to action tomorrow as the UT men and women host the Toledo Invitational Track and Field Meet for the first time after a six-year hiatus. Field events begin at 10 a.m. with running events starting at 3 p.m. Admission for the meet is $5 for adults and $3 for children with free admission to UT students and staff members with ID. Fans are asked to park in Lots 3-4-5.
ODDS-N-ENDS: Led by Richard Kilpatrick and Tyler Riley, owners of identical 76.0 stroke averages, the UT men's golf team begins competition today in the 72-hole MAC tournament at Brickyard Crossing, located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Toledo freshman Mohammed Al Nabhani was named to the first team while teammates Tony Tran and Jared Miller earned second-team honors on the All-MAC men's tennis team. The Rocket Football Alumni Golf Outing will be held at The Legacy on Friday, June 2. The fund-raising event includes dinner and a live auction. For information, contact Katie Abdulovic (419-530-3637) or assistant football coach Dave Walkosky (419-530-3502).37.59496 -81.1945