West Platte coach Paul Thomas did his best to keep the news from the Kansas City Chiefs under wraps.
So when a reporter called him about it last Friday, his first question was, ‘How did you find out?’
The Chiefs issued a preview of the upcoming game on Saturday, Aug. 24 that told the national anthem singer, who would present the colors, who would throw the first pass and in-game honorees.
Thomas was on that list, selected to sit in the Lamar Hunt Legacy Seat during the preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers. Clay Sampson, a former player of his at Marshall High School, nominated Thomas. He learned on Monday, Aug. 19, that he and his wife, Kimberly, would be sitting in seats No. 1 and 2 in section 121 in gold chairs.
The Chiefs’ press release noted Thomas was chosen for being a successful head football coach and an advocate for high school football in Missouri.
In his 35th year of education, Thomas has coached in Texas, as well as Hannibal, Marshall, Marceline, Warsaw and the past three years in Weston.
“It was outstanding,” Thomas said the day after the game. “It was very humbling. I feel really blessed that one of my former players felt strong enough to nominate me. That is what we are in the business of teaching and coaching, trying to make an impression on kids at a young age. I talked to him (Clay) and told him I was really humbled about the process.”
Thomas was recognized during the game and waved to the crowd. After the cameras were off of him he had a lot of people in the section congratulating him and giving him high-fives.
Thomas came to Weston and took over as the football coach, replacing the late Nate Danneman.
Not an easy task for anyone, even tougher for Thomas. Danneman was a student teacher for Thomas when he was at Marshall and he later added Danneman to his staff at the school after his playing days at Missouri Valley College ended.
The Chiefs’ release noted that Thomas had built on leading a program that Danneman laid the foundation for after feeling the calling to come to Weston.
“Nate and I were really good friends,” Thomas said. “That is what brought me to West Platte. What Nate’s legacy meant to West Platte … it all came full circle.”