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Sharon Sims Retires from Wilmington College after 34 years

Longtime Physical Education Faculty Member Coached Seven Sports

May 23, 2012

Sharon Sims chats with well-wishers at a campus reception held in her honor this spring.

Sharon Sims chats with well-wishers at a campus reception held in her honor this spring.

Sharon Sims is so passionate about the teaching profession that she calls it her ministry.

This spring, her 34-year Wilmington College ministry came to a conclusion after more than three decades as a health and physical education faculty member and coach of seven sports, as well as periods as department chair and assistant athletic director.

The College recognized her accomplishments and wished her well at a campus reception held earlier this spring — what she termed as a “celebration of victory.”

Sims, professor of health and physical education (HPE), described the 34 years as “a rich and meaningful journey.”

“How do you put memories of 34 years together,” she asked the group of former and current faculty and staff, as well as family and other friends assembled at her reception.

“I have been so richly blessed and filled with God’s grace,” she added, noting that, while she is retired, much remains on her plate. “God still has things for me to do on my continuing journey of life.”

Some of those things will be a continuing relationship with Wilmington College. Indeed, she plans to teach courses here and there, and it was announced at the reception that the Alumni Association’s annual summer golf outing is now known as the Sharon Sims Alumni and Friends Golf Scramble. It’s planned for Aug. 11 at Snow Hill Country Club.

While most persons associate Sims with the game of golf — indeed, she is a certified LPGA Class “A” Teaching and Club Professional — that wasn’t always the case.

Years before she founded and coached the College’s women’s golf team, Sims was head coach of women’s volleyball for four years, women’s basketball for 13 years, women’s track for three years and men and women’s swimming for two years. She also was assistant men’s golf coach.

She recalled John “Fritz” Plinke, professor emeritus of HPE, asking her to attend a seminar on golf so she could teach it as an activity class.

“I found a passion for teaching and coaching golf,” she said, noting that realization was an unlikely one. “During that time of my life, I would have thought golf to be the least sought after sport/activity/consideration on my professional or personal priority list.”

She credits Providence — and the support of her husband, Mike — with providing a “guided direction” in her life that led her to golf. One day while reading an article on the need for more women to pursue a teaching profession in the male-dominated game of golf, she began the multiple-year journey that reached an apex in 1995 when she became an LPGA Class “A” Teaching and Club Professional.

She coached WC’s women’s golf team for 10 years and in 2004 was named Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. Taking her team to St. Andrews, Scotland, the birthplace of golf, in 2002 and defeating the University of St. Andrews women’s team was a highlight of her tenure as the program’s founding coach.

In 1998, she and her family built a golf teaching center and driving range near Greenfield, the Sims Family Golf Center.

In speaking of her passion for teaching golf, she told Cincy magazine that, in spite of significant prior coaching experience in other sports, “Until I arrived at golf, there was another level of coaching that I did not understand.” The magazine featured her in its April 2012 salute to higher education.

Additional recognition for her work has been significant. Sims was the College’s “Celebration of Teaching” nominee to the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities in 2004 and 2007. Also, in 2007, she was featured in OHIO magazine’s “Excellence in Education” issue.

Also, this winter she was named nationally to the Top 50 Honorable Mention Golf Teachers for U.S. Kids Golf.

Terry Rupert, vice president for athletics administration, praised Sims for her 34 years of service at the College.

“You have touched the lives of thousands of students,” he said. “You have mentored and served as a role model to your students and student-athletes. Wilmington College is a better place because of you.”