Sept. 17, 2003
Seattle - Washington football coach Keith Gilbertson announced today that Husky sophomore James Sims is the 2003 recipient of the Curtis Williams Endowed Football Scholarship. Sims is a sophomore free safety who earned his first letter last season while appearing in 11 games, starting five times.
The Curtis Williams Endowed Football Scholarship is named for the former Washington safety that died in May at the age of 24. Williams suffered a spinal cord injury during the 2000 season that left him paralyzed below the neck. Funds that were raised to assist with his long-term care were used to establish the endowed scholarship.
As a tribute to Williams, Sims will switch jerseys to wear the number 25 uniform Williams wore during his career. Sims will be the first Husky player to appear in a game wearing number 25 since Williams' injury. During the 2003 spring game, linebacker Greg Carothers wore jersey number 25 as a tribute to Williams.
"This is a really big honor and I'm very excited about it," Sims said. "Coach Gilbertson told me after practice yesterday and gave me the option to wear Curtis' number. I talked to some of the older players about it and they said if I had the opportunity, I should do it.
"I was in high school when everything happened with Curtis," Sims said. "When I got here, it was interesting to hear about him and how much everyone respected him. I'm really excited to wear his number. I know that's some big shoes to fill. I just hope some of his talent will rub off on me."
Last year Braxton Cleman, a senior tailback, was named the inaugural recipient of the scholarship.
"James is a terrific person and an outstanding student," Gilbertson said. "He is a great recipient for this award. He really exemplifies the Husky spirit."