HERO Kids Sports Founder/CEO of Massachusetts & Colorado
Coach Mike Simpson was born in Salt Lake City, UT and grew up in Amherst, MA. He attended Cheshire Academy and graduated from Amherst High School. He earned his Bachelors of Arts from Curry College in Boston. A lifelong participant in sports programming, including co-captain of his high school football team, he founded HERO Kids Sports out of his belief that sports enrichment programming can significantly effect a child’s sense of self-esteem, as well as provide evidenced based benefits for positive mental and physical health. Prior to founding HERO Kids Sports, Mike worked as a Mental Health Counselor at the Harvard Teaching Hospital, McLean Hospital, providing counseling and support to patients and their families. Mike learned the impact of playing sports early, being a part of a team and feeling supported and inspired by his coaches. He began HERO Kids Sports in Boston, MA and grew it to the West to Greater Colorado. Mike wakes up every day, after his 6 mile runs, feeling proud and excited to 'Inspire the HERO Inside' for every kiddo!
Maura Bird, LICSW
Vice President of Operations
Maura has an expertise as DOO as well as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She holds a passion for supporting and providing families with opportunities that create a sense of belonging, confidence and joy. In conjunction with her role as DOO at HERO, Maura is in Clinical Private Practice in the Lower Highlands of Denver providing therapeutic support to individuals, couples and families. Maura was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in the east in Amherst, Massachusetts with her family -- including Coach Mike, her brother, and CEO of HERO. Maura enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, running and snowboarding the Colorado peaks. As HERO is a unique Team with a mission to bring opportunity to all kids, Maura has seen the value of encouraging kids early through sports with both her kiddos being veterans of HERO programs!
Managing Director of Colorado
Coach McKinzie grew up in North Texas, playing a multitude of sports. In high school, she helped lead her varsity basketball team to a State Championship and competed in the Cross Country State Finals. She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Sports Media from Oklahoma State University, and subsequently spent six years working in TV news. McKinzie then left the comforts of the newsroom to pursue her passion of coaching and mentoring young athletes. She comes from a family of coaches, including her brother who coaches high school football and her mom who worked as a basketball and volleyball coach. Her favorite part of working with kids is seeing how they progress week to week and learn new skills. In her free time, McKinzie enjoys crafting, running, exploring the outdoors and playing with her two dogs Apollo the chihuahua and Ripley the husky.
Program Manager of Colorado
Coach Thomas was born and raised in Grand Junction, CO where he grew up playing a variety of sports up through high school attending Grand Junction High. He was awarded basketball scholarships to attend both Colorado Northwestern Community College and Central Methodist University in Missouri, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Business with a minor in sports management. He continued on coaching college basketball as well as coaching multiple youth basketball camps over the years. Coach Thomas brings a unique skill and experience to our HERO team - truly a depiction of our HERO mission and values with his love for coaching and teaching kids how to play sports while having fun! In his free time, Coach Thomas loves being active, playing sports, with a particular passion for basketball and spending time with family and friends.
Program Director of Massachusetts
Coach Kyle was born in Hickory North Carolina and moved to Burlington VT when he was 9 years old. He has played most all sports, though his favorites are Soccer and Hockey. He earned his undergraduate degree in Sports Management with a concentration in communications at Southern New Hampshire University. He also played soccer for Southern New Hampshire University. He then went on to receive his Masters in Sport Management at Lasell University in Chestnut Hill, MA. Prior to Joining the HERO Team, Kyle was coaching soccer at the Division III level at Pine Manor College. His favorite part about working with kids is seeing the joy on their faces when they are participating in sports activities. In his free time, Coach Kyle loves to enjoy the outdoors, including hiking and playing golf in the summers.
Program Director of Massachusetts
Coach Darren was born and raised in Bangor, Maine where he grew up in a family of coaches. Surrounded by athletics, Darren participated in every sport he could before specializing in hockey, baseball and football. After graduating from Bangor High School he continued his athletic pursuits by attending Bridgeton Academy for a post-grad year, which led to his recruitment by Johnson and Wales University for hockey. He played with Johnson and Wales before taking an opportunity to teach and live in China for an international school. With a desire to continue his family's legacy of coaching, he returned home after two years of teaching abroad to work as a high school hockey coach. His favorite part of working with kids is seeing the growth of their confidence as they achieve goals and skills that they once thought out of reach. In his spare time Darren enjoys snowboarding, hiking with his two dogs and playing hockey with his men's league team.