Lowery named national coach of year

July 19, 1998|By MARK KELLER

Jefferson's John Lowery was once a high school basketball coach. Thus, he is well aware what the name Morgan Wootten means in that sport.

So when Lowery was nominated for National High School Baseball Coach of the Year and he discovered that the legendary DeMatha coach was up for the same honor in basketball, he was "overwhelmed."

"To be considered with these kinds of people, it's outstanding," said Lowery.

Lowery accepted his award for District 2 Coach of the Year at the annual convention of the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) on June 26 in New Carrollton, Md. He returned to his seat, only to be called up to receive another honor - that of National Coach of the Year.

"It's more recognition for a career than one season," Lowery said. "It's based on record, tenure, involvement in organizations within the state - they all have a certain balance that they judge it on.


"The man that won for track hadn't lost a dual meet in 31 years. But it's not all about wins and losses," Lowery added, noting that Wootten, high school basketball's all-time leader in victories, was not named Coach of the Year.

However, if it were based solely on wins and losses, Lowery would have it covered. He began his coaching career in 1971 at Harpers Ferry High School. When Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown and Charles Town merged to form Jefferson High in the fall of 1972, Lowery became the school's first, and only, coach.

His 28-year record is 715-198, a .783 winning percentage. He is firmly ranked in the top 20 nationally for career wins. Jefferson won the West Virginia Class AAA state title last month, the sixth time Lowery's teams have accomplished that feat. The Cougars have been state runners-up twice.

Lowery said the nomination for the district award was made by the West Virginia State Coaches Association. The members of the associations within the district then nominate one coach for the national award. District 2 covers West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware and Washington, D.C.

The nominees from eight districts are reviewed by members of the national association in order to select the honoree.

"What higher honor is it than to win an award that comes from your peers?" said Gary Brines, executive director of the NHSACA. "Here's a guy that's done well in coaching. Now, he's vice-chair of one of our committees."

Serving on a national committee means that Lowery will have a say in who succeeds him as Coach of the Year next year. But that's not to say Lowery is through coaching. In fact, he says he's far from that.

"I'm only 52. I feel good. I'm running my camps and enjoying it," Lowery said. "As long as I keep enjoying it, there's no reason not to do it."

The Herald-Mail Articles