Rod Simons, a longtime Twin Cities and former Seattle and Pacific Northwest sports personality, has died while covering the Minnesota Twins spring training in Fort Myers Fla., according to the Twins. He was 56. A cause of death was not given.
A graduate of Washington State, Simons spent more than 20 years in the sports-media profession, and he worked for multiple causes including his Golf for the Gift charity that helped raise funds to help families with adoption grants.
Before moving to Minnesota, Simons anchored the launch of FOX Sports Net’s “Regional Sports Report” in the Pacific Northwest and Detroit Regions while also hosting KOMO-AM sports in Seattle. In all, Simons spent 18 years as a lead news and sports anchor at KSTW-TV (CBS/UPN) in Seattle; KOIN-TV (CBS) in Portland; KJR-AM in Seattle and KVI-AM in Seattle. His body of work as sports director at KSTW included covering Rose Bowls, the Mariners’ AL playoff runs from 1995-2001 and the Sonics’ 1996 trip to the NBA Finals against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
Winning an MLS Cup championship is apparently having some early benefits for the Sounders this season where ticket demand is concerned.
The team announced it is expanding the seating capacity for its March 19 home opener against the New York Red Bulls at CenturyLink Field. The capacity of just under 40,000 is being upped by an undisclosed amount with tickets now available in the stadium’s 300 level.
The team’s first-ever championship banner will be unveiled at the game, while several championship-themed match-day giveaways to fans will also take place.
• Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss was named the West Coast Conference men’s basketball player of the week.
Williams-Goss received the weekly honor for the fourth time this season after helping top-ranked Gonzaga (28-0, 16-0 West Coast Conference) remain the nation’s lone unbeaten team. He totaled 48 points in GU’s 27th and 28th straight victories.
The Zags received 59 first-place votes in the latest Associated Press poll and also are No. 1 in the USA Today coaches poll.
The redshirt junior made 15 of his 24 shots from the field (62.5 percent) and all 14 of his free-throw attempts. He added 14 assists, 11 rebounds and five steals.
• Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman Ethan Bear has been named the WHL player of the week.
Bear registered 10 points (4G-6A) in five games to help the Thunderbirds go 3-2-0-0 this past week.
• Washington moved up five spots and tied for seventh at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Championship in English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans.
Due to weather, both the second and third rounds were played on Monday. The Huskies shot 301-298-290 for a total of 25-over 889 to tie Texas for seventh.
The Huskies were led by freshman Karen Miyamoto, who not only carded her second eagle in as many days but also recorded her first top-10 finish, tying for 10th with a 1-over 217 (70-73-74). Miyamoto, in just her second tournament with UW after joining the team in January, knocked in four birdies and that one eagle on hole 11 over the final 36 holes.
Top-ranked Stanford won by 11 strokes at 1-under 863. Arizona’s Haley Moore was medalist at 6-under 210.