Montana senior linebacker Jace Lewis of Townsend will be the next Grizzly to wear the Heritage 37 jersey, continuing a tradition that stretches back three decades.
The number is passed from one Montana player to another and Lewis, a two-time All-Big Sky winner, was presented with the jersey by former MU star player Jesse Sims. However, the two were unable to officially announce the transition until Sims died in an ATV crash in May.
“The 37-year-old tradition is special for any Montana kid growing up, but now with everything that has happened, and Jesse wanting me to wear the jersey, it makes it even more special,” Lewis said in a statement. press release UM.
“Knowing that he wanted me to wear it, that he thought I had what it takes to wear it and that I had some of the same values as him, it’s special. I admired him since the moment I got here at UM. He took me under his wing, allowed me to continue, pushed me into the weight room and onto the field. Off the field he was just a dude wonderful. He came from a big family, and it showed in everything he did. “
The tradition began when Plentywood native Kraig Paulson passed the jersey to a young player from Montana state, Tim Hauck. Turned from player to player ever since, the number 37 has since become a representative of the Montana spirit: hard work, dedication to the team and hard play on the pitch.