As children we tend to be certain of our future aspirations and strive to achieve them by following the necessary path.
Many can admit that with age and time, perceptions begin to change and paths veer in other directions. Then there are those rare cases where a few of those young children persevere the journey to fulfill their childhood dream later in adulthood.
Growing up in the small town of Salina, Kan., with a population of a little more than 45,000, the first encounter with a football for Washburn senior quarterback Dane Simoneau was during a game of flag football as a second grader. This event would forever be engraved in his mind, foreshadowing his destiny in the world of football.
“I loved football growing up,” said Simoneau. “I also played baseball and basketball.”
This record breaking quarterback has taken his talents not only to the football field, but the baseball mound and the hardwood. As a senior at Sacred Heart High School, Simoneau earned first team all-state and second team all-state, all-class in football and became a 2007 Shrine Bowl participant. With the many accolades and honors that Simoneau has achieved in every sport that he’s touched, some may be surprised to discover that he may have been a baller on the basketball court instead.
“I really enjoyed basketball, but I was grateful that Washburn took a chance and recruited me,” said Simoneau. “I’ve had a blast ever since.”
From the launch of his arrival at Washburn University, Simoneau has earned MIAA honorable mention for three consecutive years in baseball and currently holds 20 school career and single season records in football. He was named MIAA Offensive Student Athlete of the Week after his record-setting performance against the Sioux Falls Cougars, when he threw for a school-record 452 yards.
“It was pretty cool, but most importantly we got the win,” said Simoneau. “The offensive line did a great job giving me time back there, the receivers ran great routes and they looked good out there. It was just overall a good effort.”
Witnessing Simoneau’s loud presence on the field would lead one to think it would carry over into the lockeroom or in the classroom, but surprisingly it’s quite the contrary.
“I’m a pretty quiet guy,” said Simoneau. “I don’t talk much, but when the time comes I’ll be vocal if I have to. I’m not a ‘ra-ra’ kind of guy. I’m more of a keep everyone calm and focused guy. When things are going bad I keep everybody up and when things are going good I let everyone know that we can’t let up.”
The heavy scheduling demands of camp accompanied by intense workout sessions make the work of a student athlete seem nearly impossible to finish, but fortunately he knows how to enjoy his time off the field.
“I love watching sports,” said Simoneau. “I love golfing and just hanging out with my friends.”
Often, the path we take in life is credited to those whose lives or decisions we’ve mirrored. It’s in these moments that people reflect on the reasons why they idolize the individuals they do.
“I like Aaron Rodgers right now,” said Simoneau. “He’s very humble and I like the way he plays and carries himself. He’s a good leader and he’s very good at what he does.”
The approach of a student’s final collegiate year is one causing an array of mixed emotions and thoughts. Sentiments of uncertainty and sadness begin to take form as the date draws nearer. Simoneau’s walk across the stage will be a moment full of pride and joy, but also bittersweet.
“I’m going to miss everyone,” said Simoneau. “I believe we have a great coaching staff here and I get along with every one of them. They’re great guys who genuinely care about their players, unlike some other schools who don’t necessarily care about a player’s personal life, but our coaches take care of everything.
“They’re there to talk to you if you need them. I’ll miss the players too. I have some best friends on this team that I’ll keep for life. It’s been a good time and a fun ride.”