MIDDLETOWN — Aaron Zupka has decided to take a step closer to home.
Zupka will finish his third year as the head of Middletown High School’s athletic department and move on to Milford, where he’s accepted the job as athletic director.
“I really don’t have a lot of regrets,” said Zupka, 35. “I think I put my all into every day at Middletown, and I think we’re a lot better off than we were three years ago when I got there. I’m sure the next person coming in can continue to take it to the next level.”
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He said his decision is based on his family. Zupka and his wife Jamie have two daughters, a 1-year-old and 2-week-old, and they recently moved from Madeira to Symmes Township.
“I was commuting 40, 45 minutes to work most days, and with the birth of our second child, it was really something I had to look hard at,” Zupka said. “When I took the job at Middletown, I didn’t have kids. Now that we have two daughters, I need to be closer to home so I can be more involved with them and my family can be more involved in what I’m doing.
“My wife still has family in Madeira, and our support system’s down there. You’ve got to take care of your family at the end of the day. That was really the driving force for me.”
The drive from his home to Milford High School will be 10-15 minutes, according to Zupka. He will stay at Middletown through June 30 and start at Milford on July 1.
Zupka was the AD at Clark Montessori for four years before coming to Middletown. He was also the assistant athletic director at Walnut Hills for one year.
“Coming back to the Eastern Cincinnati Conference is kind of full circle for me,” said Zupka, a graduate of Cuyahoga Heights High School and Xavier University. “I was at Walnut Hills in 2011 when the conference was born. I’ve always had an appreciation for that league.
“There’s a bond issue coming up on the May ballot, which will be huge for the (Milford) district. It’s kind of a thriving community … FC Cincinnati is building a practice facility down the hill there. It’s a great opportunity, and I can’t wait to get to work.”
Zupka said it’s still difficult to leave Middletown. He said his time there has been very positive.
“We’ve really tried to make it a student-centered environment,” Zupka said. “We’ve started student-athlete leadership teams. We’ve gotten kids involved in a lot of the decisions we’ve been making and tried to make it about them.
“With the new facilities and the movement going on with Mr. (Marlon) Styles and Middie Rising, it’s been a great journey there. The leadership’s been great. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Middletown.
“It would’ve been nice to see the full facility project through, but besides that, I think we’re definitely trending in the right direction. I think we’ve got some some really awesome coaches in place and have a lot of good things happening. Some of the things people probably don’t even know about with some of the quote-unquote mid-major sports.”
Zupka’s work experience includes six years as program director for the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. He was also the junior varsity baseball coach at Madeira for one season.