Sims set to find Middleton's next football coach

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton athletic director Jamie Sims hopes to start interviewing candidates for the head football coach opening at MHS in mid-to-late February./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton athletic director Jamie Sims believes the football coaching job at MHS is one of the best in Wisconsin.

“I’m probably biased,” Sims said. “But I think it’s one of the two or three best jobs in the state.”

We’ll soon find out if coaches feel the same way.

Former Middleton coach Jason Pertzborn resigned on Jan. 26 in the midst of a bullying incident inside his program. There’s an ongoing investigation into that incident by the Middleton Police Department and the Middleton Cross Plains School District.

Suddenly, Sims needs to find a new coach — and is optimistic he’ll draw a bevy of high-level candidates.

Sims said on Monday that the job will be posted by Feb. 3. Sims expects the job will stay posted for two weeks, then he expects to begin interviews in mid- to late-February.

Sims said the district plans to package a teaching job with the football position. And if everything goes smoothly, Sims hopes to have his new football coach by early March.

“The fortunate thing about this unfortunate situation is the timing,” Sims said. “Hopefully the timing of it all lends itself to lots of applicants.

“I’m confident we’ll get some good interest, not just state-wide, but collegiately, as well, and hopefully from outside the state.”

There’s no question the Middleton opening should be one of the most coveted positions in the state.

The Cardinals have a tremendous history of success, qualifying for the WIAA Division 1 playoffs for 26 consecutive years. That’s tied for the longest streak among Division 1 teams with Hartland Arrowhead.

Middleton is the largest high school in the state with 2,378 students, so there are plenty of able bodies roaming the hallways. The district passed a referendum in Nov., 2022, that — among many other things — will upgrade the football facilities. And Middleton has a youth program that’s second-to-none.

What Middleton also has, though, is an image problem.

The bullying incident left the program with an enormous black eye. The perception by some is that Pertzborn was made the fall guy for the entire incident.

When Sims was asked if Middleton’s program suddenly had an image problem he said, “That’s a given.”

According to sources, several members of Middleton’s 2022 football staff met on Jan. 27 to discuss their future. It’s believed several of those coaches will opt not to return in 2023.

“A lot of guys just don't trust our district right now,” one source said.

Sims stressed that whoever is hired as Middleton’s next coach will have the full support of the athletic department and district administrators. And Sims believes his administrative and athletic experience will be beneficial in the search for Middleton’s next coach.

Sims was a standout offensive and defensive lineman at Madison County High School (Ga.) in the late 1990s, then played offensive line at the University of West Georgia. He later returned to Madison County High as a teacher and coach before moving his family to Wisconsin.

Sims began working at Black Hawk Middle School in Madison in the 2015-’16 school year, where he was the dean of students. Sims advanced to assistant principal, interim principal, then principal at Black Hawk, and earned his Masters in Educational Leadership from Edgewood College during that time.

He was later named athletic director at MHS in June, 2020.

“Support from our staff is critical, and whoever we hire will have our full support,” Sims said.

Sims said he expects there will be a two-phase interview process, in which the applicants will be narrowed down and the top candidates will be brought back for Round 2.

Just what that list of candidates looks like remains to be seen.

“I’m confident we’ll have a strong pool of applicants,” Sims said. “It’s a great job and when you pair it with a teaching position it becomes even better. So we’ll see how it goes.”


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