At the 2019 South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association banquet held recently, Margaree P. Simon received the Outstanding Service Award for 25 years in Coaching. Simon has served as a coach for various high school girls softball teams since 1978. She was accompanied by her husband Roney, her daughter Latasha, and numerous family and friends.
Simon was born in Clarendon County and lived with her family in the Silver/Paxville Community. She was the 6thchild of 10 siblings born to the late Viola and Ivory “Buster” Pugh. After graduating from Manning High School in 1971, Simon earned her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Middle School Mathematics at Morris College. She also completed post-graduate studies at The University of South Carolina, Coker College and Converse College. She received her Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix. She is married to Roney Simon and they have a daughter, Latasha Simon Miller and a son in law Leon Miller III. She has one grandson, Leon “Button” Miller IV.
Simon began her career at Scott's Branch High School as head softball coach and 8thgrade math teacher. She stayed there from 1978 to 1983. In 1985, she was hired as head softball coach/math teacher at Furman High School. In 1996, she transferred her career over to Manning High School to become head softball coach and math teacher. She coached there for 10 years, then decided to hang up her whistle in 2006. She is currently a math teacher for Manning Junior High School, which is where she has been since 1996. All together, her career as a “veteran teacher” spans almost 37 years.
Over the years, Simon has received various awards and honors for teaching and coaching. In 1992 and 1996, she was Teacher of the Year at Furman High School and in 2002 was selected as Teacher of the Year for Manning Junior High School. She also coached softball for the 1992 and 1996 Softball North-South All-Star Game in women’s sports for the state of South Carolina.
“My hobbies include fulfilling my calling in helping others, because I believe that service is one of the greatest gifts that can be given,” said Simon. “I believe that the ability to help mold children and touch their future in a unique way is what attracted me to the teaching profession many years ago. Being a positive role model for others to emulate and inspire to respect the profession of teaching are priceless intrinsic rewards.”
As she reflects on her years of coaching, Simon holds a memory so dear to her heart. When she coached at Scott’s Branch, one particular game she remembers is when her team played against Manning High School, where the late Premuel Gibson was the coach. The pitcher for Scott's Branch that night, Cynthia “Boo” Henry was hit twice by the softball from 2 different players from Manning High School.
“Mrs. Gibson called time out and charged the time out to me. She told me that if the ball hit the pitcher again, Cynthia would be coming out of the game,” said Simon. “My players asked me what I would do if Cynthia was hit again. My response was that 'Cynthia would be coming out of the game'.” Mrs. Simon had the opportunity to coach against her former teacher, coach and mentor and she had the upmost respect for Coach Premuel Gibson. Simon is also very proud of the fact that she was able to coach her own daughter in softball too.
“Every year people ask me when I am going to retire from teaching,” said Simon. “I tell them that I am taking it one day at the time. I enjoy my daily routine to mold students to become productive individuals.” Simon considers herself to be a “stern teacher” and she loves when past students see her in public and tell her what a great impact she had on their lives. She looks forward to many more years of teaching math to today's youth.