Festus R-VI Hall of Fame Inductee - William "Bill" Sims
Mr. William “Bill” Sims was born on April 6, 1934 to Elize (Burr) and Emma Sims. He and his wife Mary have been married for 54 years. Both are lifelong educators and retired from the Festus R-VI School District.
Bill is a 1952 graduate of Festus High School where he served as Vice-President of the National Honor Society and was a member of the Varsity Club. Bill was also a four year letterman in Track and Basketball. At the State Track Championships in May 1952, he won First Place in both the High Jump and Discus. His discus throw set a new state record that stood for many years. Another fond memory for Bill was when the Elementary Principal gave him his first pair of tennis shoes to play basketball. Competing against Crystal City in basketball and the life-long relationships established with teammates are great memories from high school. Bill was also the recipient of the coveted ‘Tommy Alexander’ award.
After graduation, Bill attended Memphis State University on an athletic scholarship where he served in the ROTC in addition to competing in both baseball and basketball. Bill transferred to Southeast Missouri University after two years to focus solely on basketball. After college, Bill began his career in education with the Festus School District but departed at the conclusion of his first year and entered the military. Bill served in the United States Army in the 3rd Army 30th Infantry Division and became a member of their basketball and baseball teams. He was selected 1st team all-star in basketball and baseball. Once his military obligation was met, he was an educator for the Northwest R-1 School District for 4 years before becoming a graduate assistant at Northeast Missouri State University (Truman State University) where he also completed a Master’s degree.
Upon completion of his service at Truman State, he worked for the Union School District in Missouri. A highlight for him at Union was starting the football program at the high school. After three years at Union, Bill accepted a position and returned to the Festus School District. During his 16 years at Festus, Mr. Sims served as a P.E Teacher, Basketball Coach and Athletic Director. Mr. Sims was awarded the prestigious ‘Athletic Director of the Year’ for the Southeast Missouri Region in 1992. Bill promoted health and wellness to his students and implemented a ‘Lifetime Sports’ curriculum within the Physical Education department. In 1957 he started the first junior high football program at Festus. Coach Sims was not only a coach to students on the hard wood but was more interested in coaching them about life. Always maintaining high expectations for himself, the example he set was passed on to those around him.
To quote Mr. Sims, “Education has been good to me and my wife Mary. It was a privilege to come back to my own high school, coach and become athletic director, it seemed to complete life’s circle. Being a part of so many kids’ lives and watching them succeed in life has been very rewarding.”
To demonstrate the gratitude he feels towards the field of education being so rewarding to him, he and his wife provide an endowed scholarship annually to Southeast Missouri State University student pursuing a degree in education. In recent years, Southeast Missouri State University honored Bill with the ‘Distinguished Service Award’ for the myriad of achievements he has made to the University.
Bill enjoys fishing, hunting, traveling and sharing stories of both his playing and coaching experiences.