Born: January 16, 1977 - Phillipsburg, KS
Smith Center H.S., 1995
Kansas State University, 2000
National Football League, 2000-2010
Who would have thought that a self-proclaimed "skinny kid" named Mark Simoneau would one day join his college football coach as a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame?
But, here it is, 16 years after he was recruited out of Smith Center High School by Kansas State's Bill Snyder, and Simoneau has joined his coach in the state's most prestigious hall of fame.
"I am thankful and feel very honored to be entering the Kansas Sports Hall Of Fame," Simoneau said. "My family and I are looking forward to taking part in the festivities."
Simoneau, 34, lives in the Kansas City area with his wife, Monica, and two-year-old daughter, Livea. He recently opened a sports performance training center in Overland Park called Simoneau Sports Performance.
"It has been fun helping athletes achieve their goals," he said. "I couldn't imagine my life without athletics. I enjoy being around the game."
Simoneau said his parents - Jim and Marsha - played a huge role in his success as an athlete.
"They have always been supportive of me, they rarely missed a game," Simoneau said. "My mom made sure I had more than enough to eat, important for a skinny kid who wanted to be a football player.
"In my youth, my dad built me a pitcher's mound, long jump pit and high jump pit. He did whatever he could to help me reach my goals. Their strong work ethic was their biggest influence on me. That work ethic is what gave me an opportunity to have success.
And, of course, Snyder helped make Simoneau one of the best college linebackers of his time.
"I am just thankful Coach Snyder gave me the opportunity to play at Kansas State," Simoneau said. "His tireless work ethic and dedication to Kansas State University had a big influence on me. His motto of getting a little bit better every day was something I have tried to apply to my life."
Simoneau was one of the best linebackers ever to play at Kansas State. He played for the Wildcats from 1996-99 and was a four-year starter and three-time captain.
"I will never forget all of the great teammates I had while I was in college," Simoneau said. "As a team, we invested so much into being the best we could be and it was great to have success on the field with those guys. My favorite games were the win over Syracuse in the Fiesta Bowl and the win over Nebraska in 1998."
Simoneau finished his career ranked No. 2 all-time in tackles (400) and tackles for losses. He played in four bowl games for K-State and led the team in tackles as a junior and senior. In 1999, he was named first-team All-American, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and was the runner-up for the Butkus Award, signifying the top linebacker in college football.
Simoneau was named first-team All-Big 12 three times and honored with his name added to the K-State Ring of Honor in 2008. He played 10 seasons in the National Football League with the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs and finished with 370 tackles. He led the Eagles in tackles during the 2003 season.
Simoneau was a first-team all-state selection at Smith Center High School during his senior year in 1994. He was also the 1995 Class 3A state shot put champion with a state-record heave of over 60 feet.
"Smith Center is a great community that really cares about its kids and school," Simoneau said. "Coach (Roger) Barta and Redmen football have become nationally-known since I left and everything in the book "Our Boys" is exactly how it was when I played. I couldn't have picked a better place to play high school football."