Students and staff in the Alvord school district are mourning a coach and coworker this week.
According to the Montague County Sheriff’s Office, teacher and coach Danny Thomas, 54, took his own life Monday afternoon near Nocona.
Chief Deputy J.T. Mitchell, with the Montague County Sheriff’s Office, said Thomas’ body was found by hunters about 3:15 p.m. next to his vehicle on Brookmole Road, west of Nocona. The vehicle had been pulled onto a drive leading from the main road to a well site.
Although they are awaiting the official ruling from the medical examiner, Mitchell said it appeared Thomas died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A firearm was found at the scene, but the type of gun was not released.
Mitchell said the last text messages from Thomas’ phone were sent 45 minutes prior to his body being discovered.
Alvord Athletic Director Curtis Enis said Thomas was hired just before the start of two-a-days this year. He coached high school football and taught seventh and eighth grade P.E. He also taught American history at the high school.
Enis said he was slated to coach seventh grade boys A team basketball and junior varsity boys baseball.
“Danny was great,” Enis said. “He was a quiet person. He didn’t say a lot, but when he did, it was usually something important or really funny.”
According to Enis, Thomas was dedicated to his job and seemed to enjoy what he was doing.
“He did a lot of the little things. He would go out there and find something to do,” said Enis. “He was always on time … came early and stayed late.
“You didn’t have to give him things to do.”
Thomas would often have laundry going at the field house, have towels out for the kids or be sweeping the floor, according to Enis.
“He just took it upon himself,” said Enis. “… he was a happy, easy-going coach. He’ll be sorely missed.”
Thomas was born and raised in Nocona and lived there at the time of his death.
“He was a true, diehard Nocona Indian,” Enis said. “When we would play them, he wanted (Alvord) to win, but he wanted to see Nocona do well.”
Thomas was hired in August at Alvord, but he had taken the previous year off to handle the estate of his father, who had recently died, according to Enis.
Thomas had most recently coached at Gold-Burg but had also held positions at Nocona, Throckmorton and Chico.
Graveside service for Thomas is 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at Nocona Cemetery, and visitation is 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Scott-Morris Funeral Home, 212 East Oak St., in Nocona.