Former Lowell and Kankakee Valley football coach arrested on deception charge

The former longtime defensive coordinator for Lowell High School's football team, who abruptly resigned as head coach of Kankakee Valley last month before ever coaching a single game, was arrested on a charge of deception.

Derek Thompson, 41, of DeMotte, was arrested Thursday by the Lowell Police Department and taken to the Lake County Jail. Police did not immediately release any details about the circumstances that led to his arrest.

After a long stint as defensive coordinator for the Lowell Red Devils, Thompson was hired as head coach of the Kankakee Valley Kougars football team in January. Then on June 22, a day after he and the team returned from camp, the first-year coach abruptly resigned and said he would no longer be teaching at Kankakee Valley High School in Wheatfield.

Neither he nor Kankakee Valley's athletic department would explain to The Times why the abrupt resignation took place.

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Thompson, a Lowell High School graduate, played football at Manchester College and for the Red Devils, playing for the 1994 team that advanced to Lowell's first semistate after shocking the then-powerhouse Hobart Brickies. He has coached football for Lowell's middle school, as an assistant at Lake Central High School and as an assistant for Merrillville during a period in the 2000s when the Pirates made it to three semistates.

He became defensive coordinator at Lowell in 2010, and helped the program make it to the Class 4A state championship game last November before agreeing to take the head coaching job at Kankakee Valley that proved short-lived.

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.