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Lincoln’s head football coach stays busy

By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Ken Lowe is a busy man. Lincoln High’s varsity football coach balances leading his undefeated team, teaching his health class and spending time with his wife and children. “I would say teaching and coaching and family, it is tough to balance and I appreciate the support that my wife has given me,” said Lowe, 36, and married to Kandice Lowe. “Most free moments, I’m thinking about a football play or how we can attack a defense, especially during the season. That is my focus. But in class, I must focus on health class and when I go home, I have to try to turn off football.” Helping him turn off football at home are his children: Kassidy (almost four) and Kody (almost two). His players must also compete for Lowe’s time. “It’s kind of funny. When players want his attention, he is always pretty occupied with something else, talking to a player or something,” said Lincoln senior quarterback Alex Stewart. “So it’s ‘Lowe. Lowe. Lowe.’ Say his name a few times. Like saying ‘mum, mum, mum’ when you’re a kid.” Lowe’s full schedule also includes teaching physical education at Lincoln and heading the football-conditioning class. He enjoys being the coach in a town that loves its high school football. “The community has been really supportive,” Lowe said. “When I’m out and about, I hear ‘nice job, coach” and different things like that. Any restaurant you go to, you recognize someone you know from a former team or just from somewhere. Lincoln still has a good small-town atmosphere here and you see people you know (in town) every day.” Lowe played football for Chico High School and was a linebacker for Butte Junior College before playing for a year at Linfield College in Oregon. Lowe double majored at Linfield in health education and exercise science. “My dad was a teacher and I thought that I wanted to coach,” Lowe said. “And then as I got closer to graduating, I hadn’t done my student teaching yet and I decided that I wanted to do some personal training instead of being a teacher. And I took that route and was a personal trainer in the Bay Area after graduation. Then I went back to school (at National) to get my credential.” Lowe was an assistant football coach at Granite Bay High for one year before joining the Lincoln High staff 11 years ago. Lowe was Lincoln’s co-head varsity football coach with Don Johnson for two years (Lincoln went 11-10 in those seasons) before becoming the sole head coach in 2008. Lincoln went 1-9 last year and is 10-0 this season. Lincoln athletic director Donna Tofft has known Lowe since he began working at Lincoln. “Ken’s a happy, go-lucky guy and kind of shrugs everything off,” Tofft said. “He hasn’t changed . . . We have a good time and, when I talk to him, he’ll do what you ask. He’s a great friend . . . (Going from 1-9 to 10-0) hasn’t changed him either way. Everybody is a little bit calmer and has a little kick in their step this year.” Stewart gives Lowe credit for keeping the team focused week in and week out. “His main strategy was kind of keep our attention on one game at a time,” said Stewart about the regular season. “If he heard talk of Placer when our opponent was El Dorado, he would say, ‘who are we playing on Friday?’” Lincoln’s win over Colfax on Friday night, to clinch the undefeated regular season, was special for Lowe. The Zebras hadn’t beaten Colfax since 1994. “It’s just a milestone I guess, physically with our kids and just knowing at the varsity level that we have the ability to win and can win some of these big games that have typically not gone our way,” Lowe said. “Just stay focused and stick with the game plan that we’ve set out.” Lowe and his Zebras will host a playoff game against Livingston at 7 p.m. Friday.