Sims reacts to being let go as MSSU head football coach

Jeff Sims was relieved of his duties as head coach Wednesday morning.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Jeff Sims is out after just one season as head football coach at Missouri Southern.

“You could see that the vision for the University and maybe my vision weren’t on the same page,” Sims says, “When there’s new leadership, they have the right to pick their own team and move in their direction.”

Missouri Southern Athletic Director Jared Bruggeman announced in a release Wednesday Sims would be relieved of his duties, and that he and president Dean Van Galen will meet with the players this week regarding the change.

The department declined to comment further at this time.

“There really wasn’t a reason given, and I don’t know that they have to give a reason,” Sims adds, “Dr. Van Galen treated me fairly, and I’m sure he’s going to go find somebody that fits his vision of what he sees Missouri Southern football being in the future.”

Linebackers coach Joe Bettasso will serve as interim head coach through the spring, with a national search for a new head coach beginning soon.

It will be the second stint for Bettasso as interim head coach at Missouri Southern. He was also interim head coach following Denver Johnson’s resignation in 2018.

As for what’s next for Sims, “In my life, I’ve always hit bumps in the road, but God always has a great plan and his plan has always been better than mine,” he says, “I want to be with people who want to win. I’m proud of what I’ve done as a football coach. We’ll get new opportunities and we’ll pursue that and go from there.”

Although he was at Southern for just 24 months, he hopes he made an impact on the program.

“I think they’re all going to be successful, and I’ll be successful,” Sims says of being let go, “I just hope that whoever comes in next gives the players the opportunity to prove themselves, rather than just thinking that they’re another coaches’ guys. There are really good players on the team.”

Missouri Southern was 2-9 in their only season under sims in 2019. The team was unable to play in the fall of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.