Justin Simmons of New Bedford, the head coach of the Bristol Aggie/Dighton-Rehoboth wrestling team, was out for a run with his roommates on Labor Day. What started as a typical day quickly turned for the worse when they returned home and found a fire was quickly consuming their home.

The house fire was devastating, but the Bristol Aggie wrestling team rallied around Coach Simmons to show just how much their coach means to them.

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“It was absolutely insane,” Simmons said of the house fire. “You always think those things can’t happen to you until they do. I’m happy everyone is OK and the belongings we lost are all replaceable.”

Simmons couldn't provide details on the house fire as the incident is under investigation but he was able to share that the home was not a total loss, and thankfully, no one was home at the time of the fire.

When his team found out about the fire, they wasted no time trying to help.

“My team immediately responded by creating a GoFundMe and getting it out to everyone they possibly could,” Simmons said. “Their kind words throughout the whole thing were really touching.”

Through this terrifying ordeal, Simmons’ wrestlers eased the pain by sharing how they truly felt about their coach.

They shared how they don’t just see him as a coach but as a big brother and friend.

Justin Simmons
Justin Simmons

“It was humbling and made me a bit emotional, and it gave me hope that as their role model, I am doing something right,” Simmons said. “I don't care about their success on the mat as much as I care about their success in life and this gives me a lot of faith that they’re on the right track.”

The Bristol Aggie/Dighton-Rehoboth wrestling team is more than just a team. It’s a family, and Simmons was left speechless at how his team stepped up and tried to help. 

“The support has been insane,” he said.

Simmons shared that his home should be repaired in about two months and he will stay with his parents in New Bedford until then.

As he enters his eighth season with the wrestling team, Simmons does so with appreciation and gratitude in his heart.

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