Brent Simmons was one of the most decorated ISU gymnasts in school history, pacing the Iowa State gymnastics team to the first of its three national championships from 1971-74.
The Columbus, Ind., native was a late-bloomer on ISU Hall of Famer Ed Gagnier’s gymnastics squads. Simmons began his career in 1968, but got his first taste of the national spotlight as a junior in 1970, where he won a trio of Big Eight titles in the vault, high-bar and all-around. The Cyclones won the Big Eight Championship and finished second at the NCAA Championship.
Simmons came back for his senior season in 1971 and produced one of the most outstanding performances in gymnastics history. Simmons’ all-around dominance helped propel ISU to the 1971 Big Eight and NCAA Championship, the program’s first national title in school history. Simmons, who won three Big Eight titles again, was an All-American in four events (vault, high bar, parallel bars, and all-around) and won NCAA titles in the parallel bars and the high bar. His dominating performance at the 1971 NCAA Championship earned him the Nissen Award presented annually to the nation’s outstanding senior gymnast.
Simmons continued his gymnastics career on the international level, competing in the Russian Invitational and Pan American (Colombia) Games in 1971.