Loyola coach joins UIC women’s basketball

Eric Simpson, UIC women's basketball

“Quality coaches like Eric Simpson do not become available very often,” says head coach Regina Miller. Photo: Steve Woltmann (click on image for larger file size)

Eric Simpson, who guided Loyola women’s basketball to its first Horizon League Championship game last season, was named assistant coach at UIC.

Simpson’s appointment is pending University of Illinois Board of Trustees approval later this month.

“Quality coaches like Eric Simpson do not become available very often,” said head coach Regina Miller.

“Having coached against him in the Horizon League, I know his abilities and I’m delighted to have a proven winner on our bench rather than on the opposite side of the court.

“His coaching knowledge and familiarity of our league make him an outstanding asset to UIC, as does his solid commitment to developing scholar-athletes.  As we continue to build a winning program, Eric’s deep roots in the Chicago area will provide us with an important edge in recruiting our talent-rich region.”

A Chicago native and 1994 Northwestern graduate, Simpson spent the last seven years at Loyola, including four seasons as head coach, where he compiled a record of 57-66 (.463).

He was assistant women’s basketball coach from 2007-09 and coordinator of men’s basketball operations in 2006-07.

Last season, Simpson led Loyola to 17-15 record, the program’s best mark since 1988-89.  The Ramblers were one of the hottest teams in the country down the final stretch of the season, winning 11 of 12 games before falling to nationally ranked Green Bay in the Horizon League title game.

He helped sophomore forward Simone Law claim first-team All-Conference accolades, while freshman Taylor Johnson was voted the league’s Newcomer of the Year.

During his first season as head coach (2009-10), Simpson mentored the Ramblers to 15 wins, the program’s best showing since the 2001-02 campaign and the best start by a first-year coach at Loyola since the 1970s.

“I am extremely excited and grateful to head coach Regina Miller for the opportunity to be a part of her coaching staff at UIC,” Simpson said.

“Coach Miller has a strong history of success and I gained respect for her coaching and leadership abilities as an opposing head coach in the Horizon League. I look forward to assisting her in building a championship caliber program at UIC.”

Simpson, who entered the Division I ranks with 10 years of high school coaching experience, was the head boys’ basketball coach and director of athletics at Marquette High School in Chicago from 2001 to 2005.

During his collegiate playing days, Simpson was a four-year letter-winner at Northwestern, where he majored in history. He appeared in 97 games for the Wildcats, totaling 475 career points and 100 assists.

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