When the American Distance Project (ADP) was founded more than a decade ago as a training outlet for local long distance runners in the Colorado Springs area, Scott Simmons had no idea the organization would produce multiple Olympians and world championship competitors within the next 10 years.

Simmons, who is a coach at the ADP, holds a Master of Sports Science degree in sports coaching from the United States Sports Academy. Since 2011, the ADP has helped more than 50 long distance runners on Team USA, including Olympic medalists at both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games. Those athletes include American distance runner Paul Chelimo, who medaled in 5,000-meter races at both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Simmons credited his “transformational” education from the Academy as a catalyst to his career. He pursued his MSS degree from the Academy after finishing his undergraduate studies at the University of South Alabama (USA) in Mobile, Ala., just a few miles from the Academy campus. He worked as a graduate assistant coach for USA’s track and field team while studying at the Academy.

“The efforts of Academy founder Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich were really transformational, not just in sport but also in education,” Simmons said. “Under his leadership, the Academy effected profound change from the beginning. It started as a leader at the forefront of sport education at the graduate level, now it is a leader in online education.

“The Academy afforded me the opportunity to continue working my job while studying there. The courses I took showed me more than the x’s and o’s of coaching and guided me toward and through my profession.”

In addition to his work with the ADP, Simmons also coaches runners for the US Army’s World Class Athlete Program and has a background coaching at the collegiate level.