Jack Simmons Funeral Service Announced; Industry Execs Offer Tributes

Services will be March 24 and March 25 in Redondo Beach, CA

Funeral and church-service details for Sports Broadcasting Hall of Famer Jack Simmons, who died this week at the age of 71, have been announced. The funeral is set for March 24, the church service on March 25. Both will be held in Redondo Beach, CA; full details are below.

Simmons holds a special place in the heart of everyone here at Sports Video Group. He not only led our Veterans in Production (VIP) efforts to bring military veterans into the sports-production industry but also provided constant support to everyone on our team. That was Jack Simmons: someone who understood the power of working as a team, supporting one another, and always offering a kind word.

The funeral will be held at White and Day Center at 901 Torrance Blvd. in Redondo Beach on Thursday, March 24 at 2-6 p.m. The church service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 25, at St. James Catholic Church, 415 Vincent St., Redondo Beach.

Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Notre Dame. Please direct your gift to Veterans Fund in memory of Jack Simmons. Gifts may be made online at giving.nd.edu/priorities/veterans-fund/, by phone at 574-631-5150, or by mail: University of Notre Dame, Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

We also reached out to some key executives who worked with Jack over the years. Here are some of their thoughts and remembrances:

ANDREA BERRY, Former SVP, Broadcast Operations, Fox Networks Group, and VP, Field Operations, Fox Sports Network
In the early days of Fox Sports and Fox Sports Net, one of the people that I truly enjoyed watching just “work in action” was Jack Simmons. At every NFL Sunday, he orchestrated his craft and operated under such grace. There was stress, hard work, humor, laughter all rolled in one under the guise of us doing live TV, and Jack never missed a beat.

He was the kindest person around, and he filled up the room with his amazing personality. His good heart extended not only to everyone he worked with but also through the selfless work he did with our U.S. veterans. Jack, one of the special Sports Broadcasting Hall of Famers, was one of a kind, and I am going to miss him as he was a real gem in our business. I can visualize him smiling. He seemed to do that, no matter what. Rest in peace, my friend.

ED GOREN, Former Vice Chairman, Fox Sports
Jack loved his family, and that certainly included his NBC and Fox families. He loved telling stories about his NBC days working fights with Ferdie Pacheco. At Fox, he ran a tight ship but always with a great smile. He loved the big events, and that’s where he was at his best. During postseason baseball, we would get some long-running games with bonus commercials. Our sales team would literally be selling bonus commercials on the fly. And there was Jack back in the studio, juggling the rotation to get every last spot in. At the end of the game, Jack would proudly announce that we ran 15 bonus spots.

He also loved food, and he loved his pizza, burgers, and an ice-cold beer. I can hear him now: “Ed, that slice was THE BEST!!!” No, Jack, YOU were the best.”

STEVE HELLMUTH, EVP, Media Operations and Technology, NBA
My friendship with Jack began 43 years ago, when I was assigned to share a desk with him on our first day at NBC Sports. Jack had worked his way into the Sports Division via the NBC mailroom, accounting, and working weekends as a logger on NFL telecasts. Jack and I would swap places at lunch, so we could both have the experience of having our legs under the desk. He also toured 30 Rock with me, and I discovered that most employees were named Buddy Boy.

Jack was a great husband. He cherished Wendy with passion and dedication that never faltered and was a devoted father and grandfather. His accomplishments in the industry have been well-documented, and he distinguished himself in public service as the Army Reserve Ambassador.

Jack was essential to the growth of SVG. When he extended the invitations for the first West Coast SVG meeting, production, engineering, and operations from all networks attended.

I will remember you forever in my heart, my brother. I will hear his voice. We can all best remember Jack by greeting everyone. In an awkward social situation, please extend yourself and provide introductions, treat all members of a crew with equal respect and dignity. Above all, drop your pretense; after all, you are one of Jack’s buddies.

DAVID HILL, Former Fox Sports President
A remembrance of simply a great guy. What a terribly sad day.

ERIC SHANKS, CEO/Executive Producer, Fox Sports
When Fox Sports was formed in 1994, Jack was a huge part of the original melting pot that formed the network. He embodied everything Fox Sports is to this day: family, teamwork, football, and supporting the military. We will forever remember our friend and colleague.

JERRY STEINBERG, Former SVP, Field Operations, Fox Sports
I was watching Jack’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech. He thanked everybody: David Hill, Ed Goren, Dick Ebersol, Don Ohlmeyer, three bartenders from Hurley’s, two cops and a fireman from Breezy Point, the janitor from TOC from Fox. To Jack, they were all the same. That is Jack’s magic: everyone was the same, and he treated people that way.

Jack has the gift of passion, and he loves this business that we are blessed to work in. A special soul and spirit, Jack, we miss you.”

JACOB ULLMAN, SVP, Production and Talent Development, Fox Sports
Jack Simmons epitomized what makes Fox Sports such a special place to work. He emphasized teamwork above all else, creating a family atmosphere in the high-stress environment of live television, while making sure everything was done and done well at the highest levels.

Jack had a knack for treating everyone equally, making each person he interacted with feel unique and special. Simply put, Jack Simmons was a great person, and, in this case, a great person became a great leader. We will miss him.”

JOHN WARD, Former Director, Production, Fox Sports
Jack was a boss, mentor, friend, and father figure to me. His passion for his career was outwardly present, but it was his affection and care for his family that showed me what life is really about. Any interaction he had with his family showed anyone who noticed how important they were to him. They were his world, and I was fortunate enough to be in this orbit. I will dearly miss him. I know my life was touched in a wonderful manner by having known him.

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