WAYNE, W.Va. — Tom Harmon will soon begin his 23rd season as the head football coach at Wayne High School. But Tuesday, he got the dreaded phone call no coach ever wants to receive. It was a call that one of his players had been killed.
“That’s the phone call a lot of us got. It’s something people are going to be grieving about for a long time,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the family, you can just imagine what they are going through.”
Sophomore player Colt Adams, 16, was killed when the SUV he was driving struck a semi head on. The crash happened in an area on State Route 152 called “All Day Curve.”
“You hear about this happening and you feel bad and you think, ‘Gosh it must be horrible,'” Harmon said. “But then you get that phone call that it’s somebody you’re close to and a lot of people are close to and it just shocks you.”
Harmon admitted he was still dealing with the shock 24 hours afterward.. Adams was a defensive end for Harmon’s Pioneer football team and was considered one of the players who who lead the team in the next two years. That ended with the crash on Tuesday morning about 9 a.m.
“You know you sort of expect it when it’s an old person,” Harmon said. “But not when it’s a young person and an up and comer with such a full and productive life ahead of him.”
Harmon said in addition to being a good player, Adams was a good teammate and was always the one in the locker room with an ear to ear smile which would brighten everybody’s day.
The tragedy touched every person in the small community of Wayne County. Harmon said that was what struck him the most was the outpouring of love and sympathy–not just from within the county, but all over West Virginia.
“Especially from the football community and schools, the outpouring and text messages I have received, it just gives you a warm feeling,” he said.
Adams young sister who is in elementary school was also hurt in the accident. She was hospitalized, but is expected to recover.
A prayer service and tribute will take place at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at Wayne United Methodist Church,