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Simsbury wrestling coach Ernie Goodwin steps down to become AD at Amity

Simsbury High wrestling coach Ernie Goodwin and the Trojans celebrate a win against Farmington in February.

Simsbury High wrestling coach Ernie Goodwin and the Trojans celebrate a win against Farmington in February.

SIMSBURY – Simsbury High’s wresting program is looking for a new head coach. Ernie Goodwin, a physical education and health teacher at the high school, has stepped down after eight seasons with the Trojans.

Goodwin has accepted the position of athletic director in the Amity Regional school district beginning on July 1.

“We will miss having coach Goodwin on the mats next year, but we are happy for him and his family as he enters into a new career as an administrator,” said Dane Street, the athletic director in Simsbury. “We have posted the head wrestling coach position on our website. We encourage anyone with interest to apply as this is a wide-open field.” 

There has been speculation that former Berlin High standout Ken Pera would take over the program. But, he isn’t a candidate because he is an administrator (assistant principal) at Simsbury High.

Goodwin has been a head coach for 16 years, compiling a career record of 261-134. He spent eight years at Glastonbury High from 1998 to 2005 before taking over the Simsbury program in 2007.

Ernie Goodwin coached wrestling for 16 seasons at Simsbury and Glastonbury.

Ernie Goodwin coached wrestling for 16 seasons at Simsbury and Glastonbury.

With Simsbury, Goodwin led the Trojans to eight straight winning seasons and three top five finishes in the Class LL tournament. Simsbury was fourth in Class LL the past two seasons. This past winter, Simsbury (15-3, 6-0 CCC West) won its first CCC West championship since 2001. And the cupboard won’t be bare. In the final match of the season, the Trojans had five juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen in the starting lineup.

Simsbury has finished the last two seasons in the state’s top 10. They were ranked fifth at the end of the 2013 campaign and seventh this year.

Goodwin’s 2013 team won its first 22 matches of the season before losing to Farmington, 24-23, in an epic end-of-the-season match for the league championship before several hundred fans in Simsbury. The 2013 team finished 22-1, one win shy of the team’s single-season record for wins set in 1995.

The new coach will be just the third head coach at Simsbury in the last 37 years. Hall of Fame coach Frank Chaves coached the Trojans from 1978 to 2006.

At Glastonbury, Goodwin’s teams won three straight CCC West titles from 2002 to 2004. His Tomahawks finished second in Class LL in 2003 and 2004. The 2004 Glastonbury squad finished fourth at the State Open.

Being an athletic director has been one of Goodwin’s goals in his career. He received a master’s degree in athletic administration from Springfield College. “This was an opportunity that came up that you can’t pass up,”he said.

Goodwin admits it will be a challenge to move away from wrestling. “I’ll miss the fraternity of coaches. You build up great relationships with these coaches and they want the best for all of Connecticut, not just their own teams,” he said. Goodwin said he will be the athletic director liasion to the CIAC’s wrestling committee.

This year’s team was special, he said. Winning the first CCC West championship since 2001 was a fitting end to the regular season.

“It’s a great group of kids. It was probably the most fun I’ve had coaching,” he said. “They wanted to work hard because they wanted to be successful. We had a great team atmosphere and they always were helping each other.”


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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