coach killed

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Nov 2, 2006
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This coach was legendary, he was from the other side of the state, but my preacher used to live in that school district. Very sad. We also had a fatal plane crash about 10 miles away yesterday. Lots of bad stuff right now. :(

Man charged in fatal shooting of Iowa coach

DES MOINES, Iowa - Police say a 24-year-old man charged with murdering a prominent Iowa high school football coach was supposed to be taken to a hospital psychiatric ward after bringing a baseball bat to a Cedar Rapids home Saturday night and leading police on a car chase.

Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson says Butler County Sheriff's deputies were supposed to take Mark Becker to a hospital psychiatric unit after the Saturday night incident.

Olson says Becker was released at some point but that his department wasn't notified.

It wasn't immediately clear if the deputies took Becker to the hospital. The Sheriff's Office declined to comment on the matter.

Becker is charged with first-degree murder in the Wednesday slaying of Aplington-Parkersburg High School football coach Ed Thomas. Authorities say Becker, a former player, walked into the high school weight room and unloaded several shots into Thomas in front of some current players.

Becker was charged Monday with eluding police pursuit.

Thomas, the 2005 NFL high school football coach of the year, was airlifted to a Waterloo hospital and died, his family said in a statement.

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

"No kids were hurt, we're thankful for that," Superintendent Jon Thompson told KOEL radio. "They did witness this and so we have counselors at the site to talk with the kids."

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

Success on the gridiron
Thomas, 58, compiled a career record of 292-84 in 37 seasons as a head coach, 34 of them at Aplington-Parkersburg, and 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.

DeVries, a defensive end with the Lions, walked off the practice field in Allen Park, Mich., toward the end of its morning practice, apparently shaken.

Team officials said DeVries was not immediately available for comment.

Thomas 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.

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