Story Written By Zach Segars @ CHSAANow
Photo Credit: Derek Regensburger
Columbine and head coach Andy Lowry won their sixth state championship together, earlier this month, at CSU's Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins. The win completed their 14-0 perfect season and prevented Cherry Creek from winning it's fifth-straight 5A football championship.
2023 has been a tremendous year for Coach Lowry. Not only did he bring home yet another state title to Columbine, but he joined the exclusive 300 wins club and previously won Broncos Coach of the Week.
The accomplishment-laden season paired with a championship victory over the four-time defending champions made Lowry stand out from the state's other tremendous coaching performances this season.
Record at Columbine
Overall record as a head coach
What were your previous coaching positions?
Head Coach, Columbine: 1994-Present
Head Coach, Lakewood: 1992-1993
Assistant Coach, Lakewood: 1987-1991
Graduate Assistant, Western State: 1986
Why do you think football is important?
I think football just teaches so many life lessons, and teaches discipline and teaches teamwork selflessness. Just the commitment level that it takes to be successful. I think the coaching piece of things is valuable for later on in life. When people work and are being able to be coachable, and are able to take criticism in a positive way, they get better.
What impact has football had on you?
I think my life would look a lot different [without football], to be honest with you. One of those things that just kind of really dawned on me, especially lately, is that I never really grew up dreaming to be a teacher and a coach. My junior year in college, my brother kind of mentioned that if you ever want to coach you might want to get into teaching and education. My brother's kind of been one of my heroes in my life, and so I kind of listened to him and went into teaching and coaching and I think God's hand has kind of really steered me into that and given me the opportunities. I really believe that I've been blessed with that. I enjoy my buddies that I coach with and I teach with and the kids that I work with, and I have been blessed with my wife, Janet, and my kids and my whole family.
What is a lesson you hope to impart on your players?
I think the commitment level, probably. I heard Josh Snyder at the assembly last week, and he just shared with the rest of [the school] that none of the kids cared about who got all the carries or all the statistics or all the awards. It was about being selfless and being part of the team and they didn't care who got the credit for any of it. So, I think our kids embrace that selfless approach and the 'it's about us' mentality. 'It's about us and not about me,' and so I think that's probably the biggest ones that the kids end up embracing the most.
What was your message to your team before the state championship game?
We had several messages throughout the week. One of them we talked about was our kids playing hard and everything. We embraced a junkyard dog mentality. Just how it doesn't matter the size of your stature, but just the size of your heart and how hard you play. We talked about how there's no pressure. Started talking on Thursday about how there's no pressure. 'Fellas, there's no pressure on you. You've earned this opportunity. The pressure was in getting here. So don't come out, play tight, and you're nervous about it. You already earned and deserve to be here.' So, I think our kids did that. I think we came out and just played hard and just played with a mentality of just toughness and grit
How did you manage the challenge of facing a dynastic Cherry Creek squad in the state title game?
Coach Logan is arguably the best coach to come to our state ever. 11 state championships is just unbelievable. So, I just have so much respect for him and his staff. But all you have to do is win one day and our guys you know, like I said earlier, 'it's about us and not about anybody else.' It doesn't matter who we're playing. It's about us and how hard we play and the discipline we have.
What was the key to completing the 14-0 perfect season?
I think there's just so much luck involved and having God's hand involved, to be honest with you. We had seven offensive linemen this year. So, we had zero depth to be very honest with you. So, trying to keep our guys healthy, and we were pretty fortunate and lucky. The whole year our guys were beat up and banged up, but they were able to play. So, injuries -- we're very lucky and fortunate that way. You know, our kids just kind of embrace that 'one week at a time' mentality. It never really dawned on us, and we never even spoke about being undefeated. We just never think like that. It's about that next week and about that next game, because, as I always tell our kids, 'it's a short walk from the White House to the outhouse.' So, I'm just really proud of our kids and the mental approach to come out to practice every week and working hard and just being humble and just taking one week at a time.
What's been your favorite memory or moment from this season?
There's just been some amazing moments that the 300th win was special because it was 300, but it was also just one of the best games we've ever been in all 30 years [of coaching] and coming back and winning with a field goal at the end of the game to win 31-29 against a really, really good Arapahoe team. Just that game in itself, with it being how close it was, and making that comeback -- it was just a huge moment. Finishing off the 10-0 season and beating Chatfield the way our kids beat them was another huge, huge highlight. And I'm not sure if it gets any better than it did a week ago, Saturday. Canvas Stadium was just beautiful. It was a great environment, with our kids, our student body, and the parents and all the support that they gave us. So, it was it was pretty, pretty special.