Nicholas County High School baseball coach passes away after battle with cancer

Nicholas County's Travis Sims was diagnosed with glioblastoma 18 months ago

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CARLISLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Nicholas County’s baseball coach Travis Sims died Saturday after a long battle with cancer.

Nicholas County Schools confirmed the news on Facebook…writing “We are heartbroken to share the passing of alumni, friend, colleague, leader and teacher, Coach Travis Sims”

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Sims was diagnosed with glioblastoma in January of 2020. He then had surgery to remove the tumor, but he wasn’t expected to make it past five months…as of July he had made it 20 months.

The Mathers Gaunce funeral home says Sims was 47 years-old, and died Saturday afternoon in his home.

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CARLISLE, Ky (WTVQ) – Nicholas County’s High School Head Baseball Coach Travis Sims is fighting for his life to beat an aggressive form of brain cancer. He’s also trying to coach his team to a region title.

Head Coach Travis Sims tells ABC 36 his life changed in a matter of days. In late December of 2019, his wife, Jenny, found him in their living room unresponsive from a seizure.
Within hours he was taken to UK Hospital where an MRI revealed a fast-growing tumor.  That would later be diagnosed as glioblastoma.  Sims had surgery to remove the tumor, but says he wasn’t expected to make it past five months.  He’s now at 18 months and still fighting
and even coaching his players out on the diamond.

“I never knew if I’d be able to make it back out here again. I was pushing and striving for it.”

Travis Sims says it’s a lifesaver to be back in the dugout.  While he’s determined to beat cancer. The hardest part is seeing his wife and twin boys fight with him.

“My wife is my rock. She’s so strong. My kids, they deal with it. They have a tough time though.”

It’s not some days. Sims says all days are tough and some are even tougher.

“My mom and dad, I can remember the days. I’d have a little league or minor league game,” says Sims. “They’d take me around back of the house. They’d throw me a bucket of balls and have swing practice every day. The tough part is I just can’t do that with my kids now.”

Sims has a tumor pushing against the right side of his brain.  It has affected the left side of his body.

His latest bad day came this past Sunday when he didn’t feel well enough to go to team pictures.  So the team photos came to him.

“Our coach told us he’s not feeling great,” says Nicholas Co. third baseman Carter Wiglesworth. “He had told that us he wanted us to go on and take pictures without him, but we got our bus driver, loaded up the bus and went to him.”

That support shows up in games, too.

Sims’s best friend and assistant coach Josh Earlywine has taken over the vocal duties of coaching.  While the rest of the assistants and the players do what they can to make life feel normal for Coach Sims.

“They’ve done a great job,” says Sims. “It takes a lot off of my shoulders. I just still want to be a part of it.”

When Sims is a part of it the team is winning and playing with the grit and determination of their coach.  As of Monday, they were 18-5 on the season and a contender to win the 10th region

“If he can come out here and watch us play, then why can’t we go out there, give it all on the field and do our best out there,” says senior shortstop Dalton Davenport. “You never know when it’s going to be our last time out on the field together.”

Sims believes this is a team who could really do something special.

“I couldn’t have dreamed of it being any better than except us going to the Region and winning it. That would be a dream season right there. I think it’s in the cards. I really do.”

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com