Ex-Kahoks coach found dead; police were investigating him

News-DemocratJanuary 29, 2014 

— Ron Rowden, a Collinsville High School teacher and former soccer coach, was found dead Tuesday in his Maryville home of an apparent suicide.

Collinsville Maj. Tom Coppotelli confirmed that police had been investigating Rowden, 49, after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services reported a complaint of possible inappropriate conduct with a female student.

Coppotelli said the alleged incident did not occur at Collinsville High School.

"He knew he was under investigation," Coppotelli said, adding the investigation was in the "very early stages." He said a search warrant was executed Friday at Rowden's house at 901 Andra Drive.

Sgt. Brandon Ponce of the Maryville Police Department said Rowden appeared to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His body was discovered at 4:11 p.m. Tuesday in the bathroom of his home.

"At this point, it's being investigated as a suicide," Ponce said.

Collinsville Schools Superintendent Robert Green said that Rowden was employed by the district. He declined further comment.

"The Unit 10 school district expresses condolences to his family," Green said.

Green said the Unit 10 counseling team was on hand at the high school on Wednesday for students who might be impacted by Rowden's death.

Rowden led the Kahoks to back-to-back Class AA state championships in boys soccer in 1991 and 1992. Collinsville also placed third in 1993 and second in 1996.

A 1982 graduate of Granite City North, Rowden took over the Kahoks' boys soccer program in 1989, replacing Jim Stranz. Rowden was 182-82-21 in 12 seasons.

Rowden became head coach of the girls team in 2007, replacing Deana Wallace. He was 40-33-6 in four years, resigning prior to the 2011 season.

Rowden was a physical education teacher at Collinsville. He also had been an industrial arts instructor.

In 1998, Rowden suffered a hairline fracture in his neck and nerve damage to his left arm after a motorcycle accident. The arm never recovered, and Rowden had been unable to use it since the accident.

Despite his arm injury, Rowden continued to play soccer in as many as three leagues a week, according to friends.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 618-239-2665. Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 618-239-2507.