High school boys tennis

Cool change: Ice rink manager Simko has new racket

Midcoast Recreation Center's ice arena director is new Camden Hills boys tennis coach
By Mark Haskell | Mar 11, 2019
Photo by: Mark Haskell Jesse Simko on the courts at the Midcoast Recreation Center.

Rockport — To most, Jesse Simko is the ice arena director of the Midcoast Recreation Center. As he spends most of his time in the ice hockey rink, he is most easily recognized by his glasses and his Elmer Fudd-style trapper hat.

Now, Simko has added to his list of sports duties as he was named the boys varsity tennis coach at Camden Hills Regional High School at a school board meeting on Wednesday, March 6.

Simko replaces Noah Capetta, who guided the Windjammers to an astounding 72-7 record, five regional championships — four in Class B and one in Class A—  and two state Class B championships.

“I’m very excited,” said Camden Hills athletic director Steve Alex. “Jesse has been here as a coach before. He was our first jayvee ice hockey coach back in 2013 and ironically I work with him every season because he’s the rink manager at MRC. So I know Jesse pretty well, he knows me pretty well and he knows our school really well and he knows a lot of the kids. It’s the perfect scenario.”

Capetta stepped down in December after his wife, Kathleen, accepted a job as an editor for Pinnacle Media, located in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

The 33-year-old Simko, who also was a varsity assistant for the Camden Hills ice hockey team prior to the start of the jayvee program, also coached the Brewer boys varsity tennis team two years before moving to the Midcoast, along with working as an employee and tennis instructor at the Armstrong Tennis Center in Hampden.

Simko called his hiring “an exciting opportunity.”

“When I was first approached by Noah that he thought I’d be a good fit for the position, it took me a while to get through the processing of it with my family and see if it was something I could viably do,” he said. “After taking a while to do the considerations, as a family we decided it’d be a good fit and something that would be a good challenge for me.”

Simko and Capetta have been friends for years. In fact, Simko subletted Capetta’s apartment in 2010 after Capetta and his wife moved in together.

“He approached me once he knew for sure they were going to the Cayman Islands,” Simko said. “And he said one of the things he was really sad to see happen was he was going to be leaving the high school team, which he’s had such a wonderful time coaching. And he wanted to make sure the kids were going to be left in good hands.”

Simko attended Brewer High School two years before attending The Lawrenceville School — a prep school in Lawrence Township, N.J. — for three years and graduated in 2004 prior to returning to the Pine Tree State to attend college at the University of Maine in Orono.

He graduated from UMaine in 2010, where he majored in psychology and minored in philosophy and business.

Simko works a great deal with youth hockey in the Midcoast and is excited to get back mentoring area children on the tennis courts.

“If it wasn’t for the hard work Noah did in his time here, and the tennis professionals like Seth Meyer and the other guys that have been here through the years helping develop these kids, taught them how to play and provided a good environment for them to be able to build their skills and their base, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Simko. “That’s why they’re one of the top teams in the state.”

As for Simko’s Elmer Fudd hat?

“I take it off when the ice goes out [in April],” he said with a laugh.

Simko and his wife, Amanda, reside in Hope, have a 4-year-old daughter, Cora, and another baby on the way.

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