WSU Cougars defensive back Bryce Beekman dies at 22
Bryce Beekman, a redshirt senior defensive back for the WSU Cougars, died Tuesday night in Pullman. Beekman was 22 years old and is survived by his mother, Julie Jackson, and brother, Reece.
Beekman’s cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but Theo Lawson of The Spokesman-Review reports that the Whitman County Coroner’s Office is expected to release more information in the near future.
I've been able to confirm through Pullman Police that Bryce Beekman, a redshirt senior on #WSU's football team, has died. Pullman Police Commander Jake Opgenorth expects the coroner's office to release more information soon, including the cause of death. Beekman was 22 years old.
— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) March 25, 2020
Wednesday morning, WSU Athletics released the following statement:
“Yesterday, Washington State University learned of the passing of WSU football student-athlete Bryce Beekman, a 22-year old rising-senior from Baton Rouge, La.
“We are in shock with the news of Bryce’s passing,” said WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun. “Bryce was a tremendous young man, great teammate and will be missed by all. We send our deepest condolences and prayers to the Beekman family and his many friends.”
“My relationship with Bryce was still in its early stages, but I knew him to be a wonderful young man,” said WSU head coach Nick Rolovich, who informed the team of the news Tuesday night. “He was always positive and well respected amongst his teammates. My heart goes out to his family and friends.”
All WSU students needing immediate assistance can contact the 24/7 WSU Crisis Line at 509-335-2159. Staff and faculty can receive assistance at the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) State toll-free number at 1-877-313-4455.”
Beekman was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis., where he played football and basketball through his junior year before moving to Baton Rouge, La. As a senior at Scotlandville High School, Beekman earned All-State honors after making 51 tackles, recording seven interceptions and forcing two forced fumbles. He also starred in basketball, helping lead Scotlandville to the state title game.
After high school, Beekman attended Arizona Western Junior College in Yuma, Ariz. After redshirting his first year, Beekman earned NJCAA All-America honorable mention honors and was named to the All-Western States Football League First Team after recording 26 tackles, 2.5 of which were for loss, and he also picked off a team-high seven passes.
During Beekman’s redshirt-sophomore season, he was named to the All-Region First Team and the All-WSFL First Team after recording 41 tackles, five for loss, forcing two fumbles and he also tied for the team lead with three interceptions.
After his impressive junior college career, Beekman transferred to WSU and instantly became a starter at safety. He started all 13 games in 2019 and recorded 60 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, two pass breakups, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception. He recorded back-to-back 10-tackle games against Houston and UCLA, and had eight tackles in the team’s final game, a loss to Air Force in the Cheez-It Bowl.
According to his biography on WSU’s website, Beekman was interested in sports psychology.
Beekman’s WSU teammates took to social media late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning to offer their condolences, such as this one from fellow safety Skyler Thomas. Thomas’ number is 25 and Beekman’s was 26.
25×26 forever 🤞🏽🕊
— Skyler Thomas (@Skydollaa) March 25, 2020
Beekman’s death is the second the WSU football program has had in the last 26 months. Quarterback Tyler Hilsinki committed suicide in January of 2018. Hilsinki’s family has founded Hilsinki’s Hope, which provides funding and tools to schools to assist with mental health.