Simmons retiring after 43 years at Clinton YMCA

Gene Simmons

The New Year will bring a new title to Clinton YMCA CEO Gene Simmons: Retiree.

Simmons announced his pending retirement in August, and is to make it effective on Friday, Jan. 1. He has worked with the Clinton YMCA since June of 1977 and has served as CEO for the past 40 years.

“I’m going to take some time off and not lock myself down to any one thing,” Simmons said. “I’m going to take some time off and not lock myself down to any one thing. I’m a native of Clinton and Laurens County and certainly don’t plan to go anywhere. I’m going to continue to volunteer, work with the (Laurens County) Touchdown Club and continue to serve the community as a whole.”

Simmons’ wife, Clovis, is a teacher and tennis coach at Clinton High School, and he said she has no immediate plans to retire.

“I need to make that clear,” he said.

Simmons said he will also continue to work with WPCC radio broadcasts for CHS athletics and promote a new passion of his, pickleball, a sport he discovered in an effort to improve his overall health.

“I’ve been walking daily and playing a lot of pickle ball,” he said. “I want to take care of my health. I also have eight grandchildren who are growing, and I want to spend more time with them. At their age, they’re participating in extracurriclar activities, and I can be a part of that.”

The day-to-day operations of the Clinton YMCA will fall to Patti Nelson, the organization’s business manager and aquatics director while the search for Simmons’ successor gets under way in earnest.

“She’s my righthand person here,” Simmons said of Nelson. “She’s been here on staff for 15 years, and the board members didn’t feel like they needed to go out and hire someone immediately. The current staff will be very comfortable with her in charge. We have a longstanding staff as a whole.”

Simmons said he expects the YMCA’s search committee to name his permanent successor by mid-2021.

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