A veteran coach and teacher at a central Minnesota high school was hit by a semitrailer truck and killed while riding his bicycle on a dark highway early Tuesday, authorities said.

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (B-B-E) wrestling coach and math teacher Richard C. Vos, 38, died in the collision, which occurred about 4:50 a.m. on Hwy. 71 near County Road 34, about 4 miles south of Belgrade, according to the State Patrol.

The patrol has yet to reveal the circumstances of the crash other than to say the truck and the bicycle were both heading south on Hwy. 71. Vos was struck a few miles south of his home on the outskirts of Belgrade. He was not wearing a helmet.

The truck driver, Brian L. Anderson, 50, also of Belgrade, was not hurt.

In a posting on its blog, the school's booster club said Vos began teaching at B-B-E in 1998 and was an assistant varsity wrestling coach until 2001, when he took over as head coach.

"Vos was very passionate about the B-B-E wrestling program," the booster club's blog posting read. "Vos's passing leaves a huge hole to fill in both the teaching and coaching staffs of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa. That pales in comparison to the loss his family is dealing with right now."

Numerous high school athletic events were called off Tuesday following Vos' death during his usual morning bike ride.

B-B-E Superintendent Matt Bullard said Vos "was an excellent math teacher, but on top of it, an even better person."

"He was involved," Bullard added, noting that he assisted with the junior high track team and helped the sophomores with the homecoming dance. "He was a community person, and the kids and his colleagues loved him."

Students and staff members are "holding up as well as you can imagine" with the support of counselors within the district and from neighboring schools, the superintendent said. "But nobody woke up today ready to handle this one, that's for sure."

Dan Cox of Barnesville, Minn., remembered his cross-country and wrestling teammate at Sibley East High School in Arlington, Minn., as an athlete who "worked his tail off."

"Rich started wrestling in his high school years, where I had started in kindergarten," Cox said. "We would pound on him, and he always bounce up and worked just as hard as the rest of us, motivating us to work harder."

Away from the "borderline mean" intensity of the wrestling room, Cox added, "we would spend the evening out ice fishing to stay away from food."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482