The son of longtime Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas has been hired as the school’s athletic director.
Thirty-year-old Aaron Thomas has spent the past seven years at Union High School in La Porte City, where he was an assistant principal, activities director and boys basketball coach. Thomas, who is married with three young sons, says his dad would approve of the move.
“One thing he always wanted was for us to return and he talked about coaching all the way through my three boys in football,” Aaron said of his father. “He talked to me many times about someday returning to A-P.”
Ed Thomas was shot and killed on June 24 inside the school’s makeshift weight-training room. In addition to coaching football, the 58-year-old Thomas served as the school’s athletic director. In the summer, Ed Thomas could be found almost every day at the school’s football field – weeding, watering and mowing the grass that locals refer to as the “Sacred Acre.”
Aaron Thomas says he doesn’t imagine being able to devote as much time as his dad did to those kinds of duties.
“With my three boys being as young as they are, ya know, I don’t think I’ll be up mowing the football field and some of those things,” Thomas said. “I want our facilities to be as nice as they can be, but where my dad was and where I will be coming into…it’s just two different places in our lives.”
The Union School Board accepted Thomas’ resignation on Monday. Thomas says he and his wife wrestled with the decision for two days before deciding to move back to Parkersburg.
“The fact we couldn’t get over was the ability to be closer and with our families during this time,” Thomas said. In addition to Thomas’ mother, his wife’s parents also live in Parkersburg. “So now our kids will be around their three remaining grandparents,” Thomas said.
In addition to athletic director, Thomas will serve as A-P’s at-risk coordinator and student service counselor. He doesn’t plan to coach a Falcon athletic team next season, but isn’t ruling that out in the future.
“We’ll just kind of have to wait and see with the coaching,” Thomas said.
Longtime assistants Jon Wiegmann and Al Kerns will serve as co-head coaches of the football team.
A former A-P football player and student is accused in Ed Thomas’ death. Twenty-four-year-old Mark Becker is charged with first-degree murder and is being held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail. His trial is scheduled for September 15. Becker’s attorney, Susan Flander of Mason City, has filed court documents that indicate she plans to use a defense of insanity or diminished responsibility.