Kirk Ferentz knew Ed Thomas pretty well. The Hawkeyes hadn’t had an Aplington-Parkersburg Falcon since Aaron Kampman left in 2001, but Ferentz knew Thomas from the recruiting trail and as an Iowa high school coaching icon.
Last July, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette chronicled the Hawkeyes’ clean-up efforts in Parkersburg and some of the dialogue between the two men in the days and weeks after the Parkersburg tornado.
“Did it surprise me that coach Ferentz came up to help and brought his team? No, not at all,” Thomas said. “Kirk Ferentz didn’t come up here to have people take pictures of him or have people write stories about him — he came up here to roll up his sleeves and help people in need, and that is exactly what he did.
“He did that because that is the kind of man Kirk Ferentz is.”
Ferentz released this statement on Ed Thomas’ death this afternoon:
“This is a tragic loss for everyone that knew Coach Thomas and our entire state. He was a highly respected educator, coach, mentor and a strong leader in the community, as well as the coaching community throughout Iowa. Ed loved his family and his work, and was an outstanding, selfless person who has impacted countless lives in a very positive way.
“Our entire staff and team extend our deepest sympathies to the Thomas family and the community of Parkersburg.”