'Berg legend Daniel Simpson '07 returns to coach 'sleeping giant' XC team

One of the all-time greats in the history of Heidelberg Cross Country is headed back to his Sweet Alma Home. On Wednesday, 'Berg Athletic Director Greg Cooper announced the hiring of Daniel Simpson '07 as the new head coach of the men's and women's cross country teams and assistant track & field coach. Daniel replaces Brian Grime, who resigned after his 10th season with the university.

As a student at Heidelberg, Daniel was a leader for the cross country and track teams -- picking up a combined four All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors. Simpson and his teammates helped Heidelberg reach the NCAA Championships his final two seasons, kicking off a stretch of four consecutive years of qualifying.

"To have the opportunity to team up with fellow alumni at a time when ground has broken on a brand new indoor track & field facility is a dream come true," said Daniel, whose best 8K time still ranks in Heidelberg's top 10. "I have an immense amount of love and pride for this institution. It's such a special place and has only gotten better in my time away. I can't wait to hit the ground running in what I know will be an exciting new era of 'Berg Cross Country and Track & Field."

Daniel spent the past two seasons as the head coach of the Men's and Women's Track & Field at OAC foe Baldwin Wallace University. The Yellow Jackets flourished under the tutelage of Simpson and his colleagues, landing several student-athletes on the podium at the NCAA Championships both years.

"During our conversations, it became abundantly clear to me that Daniel's passion for running and for Heidelberg were unmatched," Greg said. "As work on our new fieldhouse continues, I am confident that Daniel and [Head Track & Field Coach] Bill Cooper – both 'Berg alums –  are ready to capitalize on this unique moment."

Daniel’s stint at BW was his third head coaching gig, with stays at Menlo (Calif.), Lake Forest (Ill.) and North Park (Ill.). His post-'Berg career also included time as an assistant coach at three schools.

While running for the resurgent Student Princes of the mid-2000s, Daniel finished in the top three at the OAC Cross Country Championship meet twice and was a three-time All-Great Lakes Region performer. On the track, he received all-conference laurels in the distance medley relay and the 5,000 meter run at the 2007 OAC Indoor Track & Field Championships and graduated as the outdoor school record-holder in the 5000 meters.

"Heidelberg is a sleeping giant," Daniel said. "It's the last non-Mount Union men's track & field program to win an OAC title and has seen plenty of national meets in cross country. It's going to take a little time but Bill and I are committed to ensuring those days return and that the team has a whole lot of fun along the way."

The Heidelberg Women's Cross Country team took sixth and the men were seventh at the 2023 OAC Championships. Potential student-athletes can inquire about Heidelberg and the men's and women's cross country/track programs online.

Photo courtesy of Baldwin Wallace Sports Information

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