MISSOULA — The University of Montana athletic department and the Grizzly football program are mourning the loss of former Grizzly defensive lineman Jesse Sims of Stevensville, who passed away following an ATV accident Saturday morning.
Sims, a No. 37 legacy jersey holder, was a four-year starter for the Grizzlies who earned all-Big Sky honors at defensive tackle following his senior season in 2019. Highly respected among his teammates and coaches, he was also a two-time recipient of Montana's Larry Miller Award, given annually to the team's top defensive lineman.
"Grizzly athletics is stunned by the news of Jesse's passing," Montana AD Kent Haslam said. "We all feel a sense of shock and sadness. He was an outstanding representative of his community and this university. Jesse was loved by so many and we join with all of them in mourning this tremendous loss. He will be missed.
Sims was named Montana's Offseason MVP in 2016 for his work in the weight room, and had recently graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in health and human performance. He had just started a career as a strength coach for young athletes in Missoula.
Sims made 41 starts and 48 appearances in his career and totaled 164 tackles, eight sacks, 18 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles over four seasons.
In 2017 he was chosen by former Grizzly Tucker Schye as the next to wear Montana's legacy No. 37 jersey that represents the spirit of Montana by recognizing "hard work, dedication to the team and tough play on the gridiron."
"The Grizzly football family is heartbroken by the loss of our brother Jesse," Montana football coach Bobby Hauck said. "He was a great friend, player, teammate, and representative of the University of Montana and had a bright future ahead of him. Our prayers are with his family and friends at this time."
Sims came to Montana out of Corvallis High School in 2015, following in his older sister Alycia's footsteps when she played basketball for the Lady Griz.
He was a three-sport star for the Blue Devils, lettering in football, basketball, and track. He was an all-state football selection at Corvallis his senior year and helped his sophomore basketball team at Stevensville High School to a state championship.
Sims was 24. Details regarding services will be announced in the near future.
—UM sports information