Aaron Thomas Replacing Father as A-P Athletic Director

by Nicole Agee, Anchor/Reporter

Aaron Thomas, the son of Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas, presents a statement from the Thomas family about the shooting of Ed Thomas during a news conference at Aplington-Parkersburg Elementary School on Wednesday, June 24, 2009, in Parkersburg. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

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By Becky Ogann

PARKERSBURG - The son of beloved Aplington-Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas accepted one of his father's former positions in the district.

Aaron Thomas will be the athletic director, at-risk coordinator and student services coordinator for A-P. Before his shooting death on June 24, Ed Thomas was the Aplington-Parkersburg's long-time athletic director and football coach. The school district says bringing Aaron back to his roots in Parkersburg will not only benefit the students in the district, but the community as a whole.

The coaching staff at A-P knew they'd have to talk about who could replace Ed Thomas as the district's athletic director. "We had gotten together shortly after Coach Thomas' passing as a coaching staff and thought we need to collectively talk about this," says A-P assistant football coach Mark Haren.

They decided Ed's oldest son Aaron was the man for the job. "As impressive as he is, I think he'll do a great job and it's going to help the community try to get through this," says Haren.

"And the healing process, whether that's one month or five years, who knows for sure, but Aaron will be a big part of that definitely," says A-P Superintendent Jon Thompson.

Thompson says the 30-year-old has experience working with students in need, which is something the district needs. "Aplington-Parkersburg has had a pretty rough 14 months and we have students who are potentially, and for that matter, we know are in need," he says.

Aaron Thomas resigned his position in the Union Community School District, where he is the assistant high school principal and basketball coach. The Superintendent of the Union Community School District said he's sad to see Aaron go but wishes him well.

Thomas says the new position is an exciting opportunity. He told TV9 he knows he's going to leave a lot of good people behind at Union Community Schools where he is currently an assistant principal and basketball coach. Thomas says taking his father's job at Aplington-Parkersburg also allows him and his wife to move closer to their families.

As Parkersburg heals from one tragedy after another, coaches and staff at A-P know Aaron will be a great fit for the community. "We're not hiring Aaron to replace his father by any means, because he brings a whole new set of skills along with some of the same attributes that we all admired with Ed Thomas," says Thompson.

"You don't want him to feel like he's got to be the savior for everything. But he's going to do a great job of getting us through this a little bit," adds Haren.

Ed Thomas served as A-P's head football coach for 34 years. Ed Thomas died on June 24th after a gunman shot him multiple times at the Parkersburg High School weight room.

24-year-old Mark Becker, a former student at Aplington-Parkersburg, faces a charge of first degree murder in Thomas' death. His trial is scheduled for September 15th.

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