Sims, White to lead MHS athletics

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Jamie Sims has been named the athletic director at Middleton High School, while Ben White will move into the new position of assistant athletic director, Director of Communications Perry Hibner announced on Friday, June 12.

Sims and White will begin their new duties on July 1. White will also continue to serve as the MHS activities coordinator. The Board of Education approved the moves at a special meeting on Thursday night. Approximately 30 individuals applied for the athletic director position.

“Jamie comes to us with a strong teaching background as well as proven leadership skills,’’ MHS principal Peg Shoemaker said. “He aligns with our vision to elevate the participation of our marginalized students. … Ben has done an incredible job with our MHS clubs and activities and his long-standing success as a coach will make him an asset in a growing student body. 

“Both of these administrators together are perfectly positioned to lead our athletics program to new heights of involvement on and off the field of play. They have the drive, creativity, and perseverance to help elevate all of our student-athletes.’’

Sims replaces longtime athletic director Bob Joers, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last fall and died on May 15. He served as the MHS athletic director from 2011-2019. He also was the school’s athletic director from 1995-2004 before he and his wife, Cindy, purchased The Little Gym. Longtime Verona athletic director Mark Kryka has served as MHS interim athletic director since January.

Sims has worked in the Madison Metropolitan School District since 2015, first as the dean of students at Black Hawk Middle School and since January 2017 as the principal. Prior to that, he worked for more than a decade as a physical education and health teacher in Georgia. He also was a varsity track coach, defensive coordinator and line coach for a varsity football team and a basketball coach. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Edgewood College.

Sims earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Georgia and a master’s degree educational leadership from Edgewood College. Sims is a native of Athens, Ga. He is married to Kristina and two daughters, Lilyana and Maleah.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to follow the legacy built by Bob Joers,’’ Sims said. “My first goal upon entering this position is to amplify the great work that he has done and continue to build on the foundation that he helped establish at Middleton High School. I am excited to begin building partnerships and relationships with the coaching staff, athletes, and community in support of excellence for our athletic programs.

“I know from my own experiences as a former student-athlete and coach that teamwork is essential to any thriving program so I am also grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the Middleton High School staff and community. I look forward to bringing my passion and dedication to the school and athletics program at Middleton in hopes of building on the culture of excellence that is already in place.’’

White, who previously worked for PBS Wisconsin, has also been the MHS boys volleyball coach for 19 years. The Cardinals have won 13 Big Eight Conference titles and advanced to the WIAA state tournament 11 times during his tenure. He was selected as the recipient of the 2016-17 NFHS Boys Volleyball Coach of the Year for the Central Section, which includes five Midwest states. White is a two-time State Coach of the Year and a six-time Big Eight Coach of the Year.

The MHS boys volleyball program has also twice won the WIAA Sportsmanship Award and three other times received honorable mention recognition.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to engage with the students at Middleton High School and work on creating more opportunities for participation in athletics and activities,’’ White said. “I look forward to working with Jamie Sims as I believe our experiences and strengths will not only allow MHS to continue along the path set forth by Bob Joers, but also allow us to grow and evolve to meet the needs of our students.’’

The MHS athletic department has been one of the top programs in Wisconsin over the past two decades. MHS has received the Award of Excellence from the WIAA twice over the past three years. MHS was one of 15 schools to receive the inaugural award in 2016-17. MHS was also one of 27 schools to be recognized in 2018-19.

MHS won the prestigious WSN Cup for the first time in 2019 and repeated as champion in 2020. The Cup recognizes schools that achieve success in WIAA-sponsored sports. Hartland Arrowhead had won the Cup every prior year since it was first awarded in 2007-08.

MHS won WIAA Division 1 state titles in girls golf, boys cross country and boys swimming and diving in 2019-20. The MHS girls co-op hockey team took second in state in March, while the girls basketball team was ranked No. 1 and seeded first in Division 1 before the WIAA canceled the state tournament. The MHS girls snowboard team also won its fourth consecutive state championship.

MHS has won 19 WIAA state titles since 1997 and finished second at state more than 30 times in that span. The Cardinals have 28 varsity athletic teams.