Thomas Ligon "Never Stop"
It was easy to look up to Ozark’s Thomas Ligon, and not just because of his hulking 6-foot-5 frame.
Chris Allison, his football coach at Ozark High School, saw it firsthand as his then-grade school son, Gunnar, grew fond of Ligon from working out with him and watching him on the football field.
“My son’s number one role model was Tommy Ligon,” Chris Allison said. “He meant so much to our community and Ozark. He was just a fine young man, the kind of kid you’d want your student-athlete to be.”
Sadly, there was sorrow Tuesday in Ozark as the community learned that Ligon was found unresponsive in a friend’s house in town after dawn. He was pronounced dead at 7:25 a.m. He was 22.
At Arkansas State, Ligon finished fourth in the decathlon in the Sun Belt Conference Championships last spring. He was 10th in the conference’s javelin competition.
Ligon was a nursing major, according to a statement from Arkansas State, and a member of the Student Government Association and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Ligon closed his senior track and field Ozark season at state with second-place finishes in the triple jump and discus. In the triple jump, he finished a half-inch behind Dorial Green-Beckham, then a sophomore at Hillcrest.
Ligon qualified for state in at least one event in each of his track and field seasons at Ozark, qualifying for four as a senior.
He also was the first recipient of the Rodney Klein Award, which was established to recognize three-sport athletes at Ozark and named for a former three-sport coach who died of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Ligon accepted the award in the fall of 2010 when he was already a track and field athlete at Arkansas State.
“From day one, he never had a bad day. He’s just the epitome of the boy next door,” said Allison, the former Ozark football coach. “He’s one of those ones you get extremely attached to because you’re just so impressed. He made such a huge impression on everybody.
“I just can’t say enough about him.”
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