Coach's Murder Starting to Sink In

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

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By Becky Ogann

PARKERSBURG - Reality is beginning to sink in for the entire community of Parkersburg. A coach and icon in the community is gone and friends and family are coping with that loss.

The Wednesday night vigil was emotional for a town that has scene more than its share of trouble over the last year. Ed Thomas was a leader in rebuilding efforts after the deadly May 2008 tornado.

Wednesday night, thousands who call him friend, mentor and coach turned out to pay tribute at Thomas' "Sacred Acre" football field that already bears his name. On Thursday, people in the community are still leaving mementos, flowers and footballs and recovering from a roller coaster of emotion.

Town barber Tom Teeple was one of Ed Thomas' oldest friends. It is a friendship dating back before the coach moved to Parkersburg. The coach got a lucky hair cut before every game. Teeple traveled with the team. And like many, he wonders what words will comfort.

"It's going to be a long time Dave before this place gets back to normal. This town is a resilient town. We have been through a lot in the last year and a half and this tops it right here," said Tom Teeple, Thomas' friend.

The community must now brace for a funeral and criminal case.

Talk is turning to how to honor the legacy of Coach Eed Thomas. The AP booster club has opened a memorial trust fund for Ed Thomas at Midwest Bank One in Parkersburg. Donations will help support the school district the well-known high school coach loved so much.
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