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Prominent Football Coach Shot And Killed

(Family photo)
High School coach Ed Thomas, who was shot and died on June 24, 2009.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A prominent Iowa high school football coach has died after being shot in the school's weight room. A gunman opened fire on Aplington-Parkersburg High School coach Ed Thomas Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Thomas, who coached four NFL players, was shot at about 8 a.m. and died shortly after he was airlifted to Waterloo Hospital.

Holly Fokkena, a Butler County spokeswoman, said an adult male suspect has been taken into custody and was at the Butler County jail.

She said about 50 students were in the school when the shooting occurred.

Jessica Lown of the Iowa Department of Public Safety said the school has been secured and no else was injured. She declined to say whether the suspect is a student at the school.

Muller said she's been told the shooter is not a student.

The district's superintendent and a guidance counselor were meeting with students who were in the weight room at the time of the shooting.

(Family Photo)
Thomas, who was also Aplington-Parkersburg High School's athletic director, also ran a program during the summer for students, not just members of the team, Muller said.

The school is in Parkersburg, about 80 miles northeast of Des Moines.

Thomas was one of the most well-known high school football coaches in Iowa. He was honored as the NFL High School Coach of the Year in 2005, and four of his former players are in the NFL: Green Bay's Aaron Kampman, Jacksonville's Brad Meester, Detroit's Jared DeVries and Denver's Casey Wiegmann.

Thomas had made national headlines last year when he insisted that the high school's football field, named in his honor, be rebuilt as a way to help restore community pride in Parkersburg after it was hit by a powerful tornado in May 2008 that killed six people and destroyed the high school.

"A lot of people know coach Thomas for his success as a football coach, but a lot of people here locally know him as a person, as a dad and grandfather, and that's where our thoughts are right now, with coach Thomas," said Superintendent Thompson.

Thomas had a career record of 292-84 in 37 seasons as a head coach, 34 of them at Aplington-Parkersburg.

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