Senior Profile: R.J. Simmons

Senior captain R.J. Simmons has scored over 100 goals for Fordham over the course of his career. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Senior captain R.J. Simmons has scored over 100 goals for Fordham over the course of his career. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

By Tom Terzulli

Senior captain R.J. Simmons has scored over 100 goals for Fordham over the course of his career. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)
Senior captain R.J. Simmons has scored over 100 goals for Fordham over the course of his career. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

For college athletes, senior seasons are always bittersweet. Fordham Water Polo’s R.J. Simmons is one of only two seniors on this year’s team. That distinction comes with certain responsibilities. He’s been a leader in and out of the pool, setting an example for the young guys while also scoring at a high clip. With a first round matchup against Wagner in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Championship just a week away, Simmons reflected on his swan-song season, his Fordham career and what his Rams expect from the Seahawks.

The Fordham Ram: This is a very young team. You’re not only one of two seniors and the captain, but a top scorer as well. What have you done to take a leadership role with such a young squad?

R.J. Simmons: As captain of such a young squad, I believe being patient with them is the best attribute to have, because they need to learn how to play our game and also realize this is Divison I water polo and not high school water polo. This means a young team is prone to make errors and mistakes, and as a leader, I try to give them advice, hopefully leading to improvement.

TFR: Your final regular season in a Fordham cap went by in a flash. How would you assess the ups and downs of the 14-12 season?

RJS: I believe as a team we have improved since the beginning, but we have also let a few games slip away from us. Overall, I would have to say I am proud of my teammates showing up to workouts and giving it all they have.

TFR: One of the more prominent moments of the season had to be Senior Day. What were the emotions like?

RJS: It was a bittersweet feeling. It really sank in after the last buzzer sounded and I realized this was the last home game I would ever play at Fordham. I was happy my whole family came to watch.

TFR: Has there been a defining moment or a proudest moment for you in your Fordham career?

RJS: My sophomore year we beat Bucknell, which has to be one of the proudest moments in my water polo career because they were a nationally ranked team and we were able to steal one away from them in sudden death overtime. We just played a great game, and to this day I occasionally watch it.

TFR: In talking to and having a working relationship with Coach Harris this season, I know he’s a terrific guy. How much has he meant to you over the years?

RJS: Coach Harris and I have a comedic relationship. Sometimes we have disagreed and argued, but at the same time have the common goal of winning. When there were times when I was not playing my best, he just told me to keep my head up and believed in me.

TFR: Finally, looking ahead to Wagner, you’re 1-1 against them this year. What’s the matchup looking like?

RJS: We have been preparing for Wagner for about two weeks now and believe we can beat them. The first time we played them, we did not have [assistant coach Brian] Bacharach, which threw us out of our game. The second time, we did have him and we were victorious. Coach Bacharach and I have never won the first game of a Championship tournament since we have been at Fordham, so we would want to get a win my senior year and see if we can upset a few teams this weekend.