Former Greenwave football coach dies |

Former Greenwave football coach dies

Ed Jesse and the 1963 Carson High football team.
File art |

Ed Jesse, who led Carson High to its last state title as the Senators’ football coach in 1964, died Friday at the age of 86.

His family said he died at Renown Medical Center after a four-month illness.

“My dad was really a smart man,” said his daughter, Helaine Jesse Morres, who followed her father as an educator and served as a vice president at Western Nevada College. “He had a great sense of humor, very dry sense of humor, very sharp, quick wit.”

Helaine also posted on her Facebook page, “Our family is humbled by the outpouring of support and love with the recent loss of our father, Ed.”

Ed Jesse was born in Milwaukee, Wisc., June 16, 1929, where he grew up. He was recruited to play football for the legendary Joe Sheeketski in 1949.

He lettered in football at Nevada in 1949, 1953 and 1954 and was the seventh ranked quarterback in the nation as a sophomore. An injury in baseball ended his football career.

Due to a lack of funding, Nevada didn’t have football in 1950, 1951 and 1952. During those years, Jesse served in the U.S. Army-Airborne Division.

He went on to earn a bachelor’s and master’s in history at Nevada in 1956. He taught history and coached football at Churchill County High School in Fallon in 1957 and went on to be the head football coach at Pershing County High School in Lovelock from 1958 to 1961.

At Pershing County, Jesse’s teams won two regional titles and lost in the state finals once.

He came to Carson High in 1962 where he taught and coached football from 1962 to 1966. For three straight years, the Carson-Fallon game essentially decided the 2A state title from 1963 to 1965.

Fallon beat Carson, 7-6, in 1963, but the Senators came back to defeat Fallon, 14-7, on its way to winning the state title in 1964. Fallon beat Carson 20-7 in 1965 to earn a shot at playing Boulder City for the state crown.

After his time at Carson, Jesse went on to work for many years in the casino industry. He also was inducted into the Carson High Football Hall of Fame.

Butch Cattanach, who played for Jesse at Carson and went onto become the head football coach at Dayton, remembered his coach in a 2005 Nevada Appeal article on Jesse.

“I’m sure there were teams that were better than us physically,” Cattanach was quoted in the article. “But we were always well coached, well disciplined and we played well fundamentally.”

Bruce Glover, a senior on Carson’s state championship team, was also quoted in that article as saying, “He always said a smart team could beat a dumb team.”

One of the stories Cattanach recounted in that 2005 article was asking his former coach about the importance of weight lifting.

“We were all into weight lifting, but he told me that if it was that important, then you could put two guys up against each other face-to-face and one guy would say, ‘I bench press 300 pounds,’ then the other guy says, ‘I bench press 320 pounds’ — and that guy would win the game,” Cattanach was quoted in that 2005 article.

Jesse played golf and tennis into his 80s and loved ballroom dancing. He also had a love for the Carson High Band and went with the band to the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1965.

Helaine said her father studied philosophy, math and science until his death. When told her father could be considered a Renaissance man, Helaine replied, “he would like that comment.

“When I think of my dad I think of strength and determination. He could be tough, but he had a soft spot in his heart for his kids and his friends. He was very independent. Such a great guy.”

Jesse’s legacy was carried on by his three sons — Ward, Rhett and Kirk — and his three grandsons — Everett, Tyler and Ryan — who all played football at Carson High.

Jesse married Maizie Torney Ryan Harris in April, 1954 and together they had five children. The family asks in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to CHS Football Boosters for the football team and band, P.O. Box 1362, Carson City 89702.

Helaine said a private burial service is going to be held and A Celebration of Life for the public is planned in April in Carson City.