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Former Cedar Falls Coach, Wife Killed In Kansas Crash

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Courtesy: Thomas Northcut – ThinkStock

A two-vehicle accident in southern Kansas killed a former Cedar Falls High School coach and his wife early Tuesday evening (Dec. 20, 2016).

Kansas Highway Patrol officials said Jerry Slykhuis, 73, and Jacqueline Jane Slykuis, 70, both of Cedar Falls, died when their SUV collided with a semi in Seward County, about 11 miles from the Kansas-Oklahoma state border. The crash happened around 6:20 p.m. northeast of Liberal, Kan.

According to a Kansas Highway Patrol crash report, Jerry Slykhuis was driving westbound on U.S. Highway 54 when a southbound rig failed to stop at a signed intersection and slammed into the side of the SUV, killing both Slykhuis and his wife. Authorities identified the semi’s driver as Abdullah Muhammad, 26, of Orlando, Fla. Muhammad and a passenger — Michael Charles, 27, of Apopka, Fla. — both escaped injury.

Jerry Slykhuis taught biology and coached boys basketball for 32 years at Cedar Falls, where he guided the Tigers to 439 wins and four state tournament appearances. He also coached boys golf at the school for 15 years before retiring in 2008.

Slykhuis’ 39-year basketball coaching career included seven seasons at Fort Madison prior to Cedar Falls. His 531 victories at the two schools combined currently rank as the 28th most all-time in state history, according to the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA). Overall during his career, Slykhuis guided six teams to state while compiling a 531-307 record.

Slykhuis was named state coach of the year twice and district coach of the year 12 times. He is a member of the Iowa High School Basketball Coaches Association and Fort Madison High School Halls-of-Fame.

In retirement, Slykhuis continued to teach basketball. He’s been serving as co-director of Snow Valley Iowa Basketball, a camp for individual skill enhancement that’s now in its 24th year at Wartburg College in Waverly.

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