The Man Behind the Legacy
As we once again move closer to the favorite time of year of the late Ed Thomas, I am even more motivated to think of him. Two of his favorite days of the year were the first day of football practice in August, and the day of game number 1.
It has been more than 8 years since Ed Thomas walked with us. As time passes, more and more people learn of his legacy; many who never had the privilege of knowing him. I have been asked to describe him a little for those that may not be familiar with who he was behind the legacy.
If you were able to meet Ed Thomas today, there's a great possibility you would like him. He had an uncanny ability to connect and have an immediate impact on others– I describe it as putting his “spell” on you. He dedicated his life to impacting other people. During his visitation, funeral, and since, we have learned of thousands of people he impacted during his life. These are people we didn't even realize he knew, nonetheless took the time to make a difference in their life.
Ed Thomas was the greatest man of integrity I ever knew. Faith, family and football are used to describe how he prioritized his life. You may have seen this foundation, or even other teams and organizations, use the FFF acronym. That is truly how he lived. He stated his values in life and then he lived his life according to those values – that’s integrity. This trait allowed him to be a true role model for all who knew him. He was one of the most successful high school football coaches in the history of Iowa. He earned numerous awards. However, none of those things were as important to him as his faith and family.
You could never meet anyone more organized or able to outwork than Ed Thomas. He only saw the good in others. He also never spoke ill of others. He stressed the importance of fundamentals and what he called the “little things,” that mattered the most. He was a great leader that did not hesitate to show love. In leadership, he would take the blame for loss and give credit to others for victory.