Sims closes 40-year career, joins wife in retirement
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
Doug Sims will soon bring to an end a teaching career that spans the last 38 years in Madison, but looking back at all of those elementary-age PE classes, he judges that only a handful were held with unenthusiastic students.
Doug Sims poses with two of his grandchildren, Elijah Sims, 7, and Eleni Sims, 9, in the gym at Madison Elementary School.
"At my level of teaching, the kids are excited to come to class," Sims said. "They like to move, and there's an eagerness."
He doesn't have any doubts that physical education classes help the boys and girls perform better as students.
"School today is really challenging in the classroom," Sims said. "There's a lot that's expected from them, and the children enjoy a break from academics."
Sims will finish his 40th year of teaching at the end of this spring semester. In 1973, he began a two-year teaching and coaching stint at the Montrose schools. His career in Madison started in 1975.
At that time, Madison had three elementary schools -- Washington, Lincoln and Garfield. Sims taught PE classes to students from all three schools in a gym that was about the square footage of two classrooms.
"That was really a challenge," Sims said. "The class sizes were bigger, and the kids knew that they had to be careful, but they played hard anyway."
Sims' coaching duties have run the gamut of sports. In Montrose, he coached junior high gymnastics and served as the head boys' basketball coach. He also held the head boys' basketball coaching position in Madison for six years and worked as the head girls' basketball coach.
Sims' other duties during his time in Madison included assistant coach for boys' basketball and coaching the boys' and girls' tennis programs. He has coached boys' tennis for 36 years.
In 2006, Sims started teaching physical education in a new gym at the Madison Elementary School while the school district consolidated its K-5 classes from two schools to a new, single elementary facility.
The biggest change during his teaching career occurred at its start. Title IX, a federal law that required schools receiving federal funds to offer equal education programs, became law in 1972. Title IX led to schools from elementary to college levels expanding their athletic programs for females.
It took another three years for the detailed regulations to emerge from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and some legal shuffling occurred after a Supreme Court ruling during the 1980s, but Title IX's overall effect provided more opportunities to female athletes in the U.S.
According to Sims, Title IX also had an effect on girls' athletics with almost everyone needing to make some adjustments. He said coaches who had typically taught males had to learn how to relate to females and develop their particular athletic skills.
"(The female athletes) have so much more opportunity today to hone their skills; they have summer (athletic) camps for the girls," Sims said. "Those are some of the biggest changes that I've seen during my career."
Sims and his wife Delora raised two children, Steve and Teresa, and now have eight grandchildren. Steve and Camie Sims of Madison and Kelly and Teresa Conrad of Brookings each have four children.
Delora Sims retired from teaching two years ago, and Doug Sims hopes to do a little more traveling during retirement. He'd enjoy attending the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., calling the tournament "one of the marquee tennis events in the world."
He also plans to continue the painting business that he started 35 years ago.
"I've really enjoyed living in Madison; it's a great community and a great town to raise your kids," Sims said. "It also has a great education system. I've enjoyed working with some incredible teachers and some great administrators."
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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