By TJ Millman
If you have been to a Milford sporting event in the last 41 years, chances are you have seen Jack Simon. It was a job offer that brought Jack Simon to Milford in the fall of 1976 and the rest, as they say, is history. He coached 25 years of football, 10 years of track, 7 years of wrestling, and even a year of golf. Even when he wasn’t coaching, Simon could be found as the starter for the track meets or running the clock for wrestling meets.
Simon’s football ties go back to his high school days playing at Archbishop Wood in the Philadelphia Catholic League. As an offensive tackle and linebacker on defense, Simon earned honors for All-Catholic, All-Area, and All-City. In his college days at West Chester University, he played offensive tackle, and during his senior year he earned All-Conference honors as well as being named an AP Little All-American.
Simon came to Milford after graduating from West Chester to take a Drivers Ed position at MHS and was brought on to coach as well by then head coach Vern Walsh. He fell in love with the community’s passion for football and knew that he had made the right decision.
“One of the things that really impressed me when I came to Milford was the enthusiasm and the unity between the town, the school, and the team. When we played on Friday night, every person in the town was coming to the game. Growing up in Philly, I never had that. We played our games on Sunday afternoon because we didn’t even have our own stadium. Seeing how the town really rallied around the team is what hooked me in,” Simon said.
As a coach, Simon said that the most important part of building a program is getting the athletes to buy in to what you are doing. Your players need to believe that they can win, and they need to play like it as well. This should have been easy for anyone playing under Simon, because everything he touched turned to gold. Milford’s King Midas, Simon has been a part of coaching 4 state champion teams and has coached many other successful teams as well.
Simon has made countless memories over the years at Milford, but there are two memories that he cherishes above the rest. The first, was getting to coach his son. He remembers a game against Caravel where Caravel was marching down the field late in the game to tie it up. His son, also Jack Simon and a member of the Milford HOF already, jumped a pass from the linebacker position and ran it all the way back to seal the game with a touchdown. He loved being able to be a proud coach and father at the same time and took great joy in all of his son’s successes.
The second memory is winning the State Championship for football in 2008. “Winning that championship in 2008 was so special because Milford had never done that before. It was such a great group of kids and coaches. Mike Tkach put together a super team of coaches that year, and it was just an amazing ride. I think everyone in Milford was at that game, and after the game no one wanted to leave the field. We stayed on that field for 25 minutes after the game hugging, congratulating, and slapping hands…it was just such a great moment,” Simon said.
Simon credits his wife, Bonnie, for being able to accept and support his coaching lifestyle and also his college head coach John Furlough for helping him to get into teaching Drivers Ed. However, the biggest influence on his life came from his father.
“My dad never coached, and he was never a superstar athlete, but from the day I started playing sports my dad was behind me 100%. He took me everywhere that I needed to go, never missed a single one of my games in high school or college, and became the biggest inspiration in my life,” Simon said.
Simon will be inducted with the rest of this year’s class at halftime during Milford’s home game on Friday, September 15. Jack Simon rounds out this year’s class after serving as a model coach and citizen for the students of Milford since 1976.
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