To complete a successful journey, no matter how long or short it maybe, it takes patience, hard work, sacrifice, and faith to endure the challenges during the path to success. The path Baltimore Mariners’ head coach, Chris Simpson, have taken is no different from many other successful people, but unlike countless of people who stopped their tourney in pursue of their passion because of circumstances or simply quit, his journey is almost complete.
Simpson’s passion for coaching football is like no other, similar to his journey. Simpson coached from the high school level in Idaho and California, became, in 1992, a general manager/offensive coordinator for the River City Gamblers, a minor pro league in Sacramento, California. Simpson even started a football franchise, becoming an owner of the Tucson Monsoon for the AzFL (Arizona Football League) and made league history by being the first team in its expansion season to reach the playoffs.
Before accepting his first professional head coaching job with San Angelo Stampede of the IFL (Indoor Football League) in 2004, Simpson did something unheard of. Simpson ‘volunteered’ to coach for the Sacramento Goldminers of the CFL (Canadian Football League) in 1994 and the San Jose SaberCats in the AFL (Arena Football League), including scouting and tryouts. Although Simpson didn’t get paid or not paid much, the experience he gained can never be replaced.
When it comes to family, you can do but so much because your family is the first responsibility. Simpson parted ways with football for six years and was normal by working a nine-to-five, but inside, he wasn’t satisfied. Simpson, eventually, returned to football in 2002 as a coach for the Tucson Thunder, then later, for the Lincoln Capitals of the NIFL (National Indoor Football League) and the Baltimore Blackbirds (the former team name for Baltimore).
When asked about what was different from this year’s team to last year’s squad, Simpson gave high praises to his players and organization. “The one different is our (Mariners) GM, Greg Justice,” said Simpson. “He allows me to be apart of management and personnel decisions, which wasn’t afforded to me last year. Second different is we have good character guys here on and off the field. This team has been through a lot this season and they continue to fight, fight and never give up.”
Like all the players of the AIFA (American Indoor Football Association), Simpson ultimate tourney is to coach or at some capacity be with a NFL team. But in the midst of a Mariners’ playoff berth (5-4) and coaching for a franchise he’s proud of, the journey can wait just a bit longer. “It’s fun and it’s a great opportunity to coach in the AIFA and for the Mariners’ organization,” said Simpson. “I’m here for the players and I would love to have an opportunity to be in the NFL. But my first goal is to win a championship.”