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Apollo-Ridge football coach resigns

John Simon stepped down as coach of the Apollo-Ridge football team after compiling a 7-20 record in three seasons, including 1-8 this year.

Simon, 45, who has taught mathematics at the high school for 15 years, said he decided to leave coaching so he could spend more time with his family. His wife, Jennifer, is a business owner, and they have four children.

“I’ll be quite frank, for myself and my family, I think my coaching career is done,” Simon said.

Simon was named coach in 2008, when Apollo-Ridge made the jump from Class A to AA. The previous season, the Vikings had gone 6-5 and earned their first WPIAL playoff win.

Simon guided Apollo-Ridge to consecutive 3-6 finishes before the Vikings slipped to one win this year — a 35-7 victory over West Shamokin in the season finale.

Apollo-Ridge will remain in Class AA for at least one more season.

“John did a lot of positive things for the community with the players,” Apollo-Ridge athletic director Ray Bartha said. “We had a rough year. Wins and losses, it was tough. I’m sure he was a little frustrated.”

Simon also endured a couple of embarrassing incidents during his tenure.

In 2009, the WPIAL suspended him for two games after he inadvertently made contact with a referee while arguing a penalty. This season, the school district suspended several players for at least one game for an incident involving a cell phone camera during training camp.

Bartha said Apollo-Ridge will advertise the position in-house first. He said hiring a new coach before Christmas would be a “great scenario.”

All of Apollo-Ridge’s coaches receive one-year contracts.

“With a new person coming on, you want to give them a chance to get acquainted and get the winter weight-lifting program going,” Bartha said. “It’s important to start the process immediately.”


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