Organizers of a coaching clinic set for this spring in northeast Iowa say the event is designed to continue the legacy of a highly respected teacher and football coach who was murdered in 2009. The first annual Ed Thomas Legacy Clinic is scheduled for May 4.
Aplington-Parkersburg Activities Director Aaron Thomas, Ed’s son, says the clinic is not sport-specific. “It’s not going to be X’s and O’s on any sport. It’s not a football clinic. It’s not a basketball clinic. It’s truly a coaching clinic,” Thomas says.
“We’re going to talk about leadership. We’re going to talk about how to build a successful program or a successful team and how to reach parents and the community and get them involved in the process of what you’re trying to build.” Ed Thomas coached for 37 years at Aplington-Parkersburg, leading the football team to two state titles and 292 wins.
In 2005, Thomas won the prestigious NFL High School Coach of the Year Award. Aaron Thomas says the mission of the Ed Thomas Family Foundation is to pass on the philosophies and practices that made his father a success. “Anybody who played for or knew my dad knew it wasn’t just about winning or losing and he never talked about that in practice,” Thomas said.
“He knew if he could get kids committed to what they were doing, to being part of a team, to do the right things and to work hard, the success would come.” The cost of attending the Ed Thomas Legacy Clinic is $35, but registration is limited to the first 400 coaches who sign up.
Speakers at the clinic will include former Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable and former NFL players Aaron Kampman and Casey Wiegmann, who both played for Ed Thomas in high school. Aaron is hoping the clinic will attract coaches from all experience levels and sports.
“If they can take one or two things away that have a positive impact on some young student’s life back in their home school, then it will definitely be worth our day,” Thomas said. More information about the clinic is available at www.EdThomasFamilyFoundation.org.
Ed Thomas was shot to death in the Aplington-Parkersburg weight room by a mentally ill former player. In April 2010, Mark Becker was sentenced to life in prison for his conviction of first-degree murder.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls