By Brian McCready
ORANGE – Ernest “Ernie” Goodwin has gigantic shoes to fill.
The Amity Board of Education voted unanimously to select Goodwin, who served as a physical education teacher in Simsbury since 2006 and the system’s assistant athletic director since 2012, as its new athletic director.
Goodwin will begin his new job at Amity on July1 replacing the beloved and well-respected Paul Mengold, who has been Amity’s athletic director for the past 38 years, is retiring on June 30.
Under Mengold’s leadership, numerous Amity sports teams have won state championships.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of an exceptional school district such as Amity,” Goodwin stated in a statement released by Amity. “The support from the school district and community is evident. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the student-athletes, coaches, administration, and community.”
Superintendent of Schools Charles Dumais, who recommended the board hire Goodwin, said Goodwin “demonstrated that he has the skills and abilities to preserve the best parts of a truly great program and also advance us to the next level of athletic excellence.”
“Students, parents and colleagues in Simsbury extolled Ernie’s ability to effectively manage change through developing and fostering strong relationships with all constituents. We are confident that he will be an excellent fit for Amity.”
Goodwin has been a physical education teacher since 1997 and has coached boys and girls in high school wrestling, football, track and field and collegiate wrestling. He is a graduate of Springfield College, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Movement and Sport Studies/Physical Education and a Master of Science in Athletic Administration.
Amity Board of Education Chairman William Blake said Goodwin has an “outstanding background as a coach and now as an assistant athletic director.”
“He has the right personality, and right awareness of the issues and will provide opportunities for boys, girls and special needs children,” Blake said. “Sports is not just what appears on the sports pages.”
Blake said Goodwin impressed everyone at Amity with his “attitude and knowledge.” He said Mengold will be greatly missed as he is so well-respected in the sports community.
According to the New Haven Register since 1983, Amity athletics has won two New England titles and 45 state championships, 122 league championships, an additional 155 SCC Housatonic Division titles, 16 Connecticut coaches’ association coaches of the year, nine national high school coach of the year finalists, and six Gatorade state players of the year.
Long-time Amity girls’ volleyball coach Paul Thees, who retired this year, reflected on Mengold’s legacy earlier this year.
“Paul Mengold has taught thousands of students, coaches and educators the true meaning of interscholastic athletics. He understands that high school sports, above all else, teaches young men and women life lessons focusing on teamwork, perseverance, dedication and pride,” Thees said. “During his career he has built one of, if not the most extensive high school athletic programs in the state on a foundation of integrity and sportsmanship.”