PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — A Washington State football player was found dead in his apartment by an officer who responded to a call for help involving “breathing problems,” Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said Wednesday.
Jenkins said there were no signs of foul play and that the Whitman County coroner will determine the cause of death for 22-year-old Bryce Beekman, the senior defensive back who was found Tuesday afternoon. The Associated Press made several attempts to contact the coroner’s office for comment early Wednesday but no one answered the phone.
“We are in shock with the news of Bryce’s passing,” Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said in a statement. “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.”
Beekman started all 13 games last season for Washington State after transferring from Arizona Western College. He finished fifth on the team with 60 tackles and one interception. He was expected to be part of an experienced Washington State secondary going into this season.
First-year Washington State coach Nick Rolovich informed the team of Beekman’s passing on Tuesday night.
“My relationship with Bryce was still in its early stages, but I knew him to be a wonderful young man,” Rolovich said. “He was always positive and well respected amongst his teammates. My heart goes out to his family and friends.”
Teammates took to social media to express their sadness and condolences. Washington State’s program is barely two years removed from the suicide of quarterback Tyler Hilinski in January 2018.
“Cherish your loved ones. Every second matters,” wrote offensive lineman Liam Ryan.
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday prior to learning of Beekman’s death, Rolovich said the majority of players had stayed in their hometowns following spring break. Washington State has moved to an online/remote learning platform in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spring football practice, originally scheduled to start this week, has been postponed.
But Rolovich said a few players had returned to Pullman.