High school sports are full of excitement and emotion.
An excess of either can lead to very bad things, said Jim Bellamy, retired football coach at Mount Vernon High School.
“Let’s just say that things like this can happen. People get excited and emotional. You hope it (subsides and) goes away.”
Bellamy was an associate of Aplington-Parkersburg Coach Ed Thomas, who was shot to death Wednesday morning at the school’s weight room.
Mark Becker, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting, which happened around 7:45 Wednesday morning at the weight room at Aplington-Parkersburg.
Becker played for Thomas at A-P. It has been reported that Becker was denied an assistant-coaching job by Thomas.
“(Thomas) was a class act, from all of my observations,” Bellamy said. “It’s hard to believe that something like this could happen. His program, his demeanor … what a class act.”
Bellamy said he received at least one threat during his coaching career.
“I’ll just say yes, and leave it at that,” he said.
“You deal with the youth of today, and you have to deal with their parents. You never know how far people are going to take things.
Tony Lombardi had coached in the Chicago suburbs, then moved to Cedar Rapids Washington. Lombardi said he has never questioned his safety.
“I’ve had some upset parents, but I’ve never been threatened,” he said.
Said Tom Stone, veteran coach at Pekin: “The frightening thing is that it could happen to any of us. But of all of us, (Thomas would) be the last person you’d think it would happen to.”