PARKERSBURG, Iowa (AP) — Hundreds of mourners prayed and embraced at a stadium in rural Iowa to remember a longtime high school football coach who authorities say was gunned down by one of his former players.

Pastors told onlookers during a Wednesday night vigil to pray and seek God’s guidance following Ed Thomas’ death.

The 58-year-old coached for 34 years at Aplington-Parkersburg High School in the tiny Iowa community of Parkersbug and helped launch several NFL careers.

Former players, neighbors and residents from nearby towns held candles as they listened to Biblical passages in honor of the deeply religious husband and father. He died early Wednesday after being shot in a weight room adjacent to the school.

Twenty-four-year-old Mark Becker, who had played for Thomas, has been charged with murder.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.