Andy Lowry says he had no idea that the 2011 Columbine football season would be as special as it was. But, then again, that’s how the 48-year-old head coach approaches every season.
Every year is a new year, but there was something special about the Rebels last year. From the time Columbine boarded a plane for Florida and a preseason kickoff classic through Dec. 3 at Sports Authority Field at Mile HIgh when it won its fifth 5A state title since 1999 the Rebels were a team of, well, destiny.
“It’s hard to compare (with other state championships). The only thing I can tell you is that winning a state championship never gets old. It feels like the first time,” Lowry said. “Other than your wife and your children it’s just a great feeling you have and it lasts for quite a while.”
Because of his team’s success Lowry has been named the 2011-12 Columbine Courier Coach of the Year.
Lowry’s 18th season at the helm brought a 14-0 record, including a 5A Big 6 league championship. Columbine won all but one game by double figures, including a 41-31 thriller over Lakewood in the state championship game.
But Lowry, the modest person that he is, isn’t one to take the credit as much as share it with his assistants. They — Tom Tonelli, Ivory Moore, Rick Anderson, Bryan Halsey, Scott Thomas, Doc Holliday, Ty Rogers and Darrel Hird — are the ones that deserve the credit, Lowry said.
“God’s blessed me with an awful lot of great men that he’s put in my life. They’re not only my assistant coaches, but they’re my best buddies,” Lowry said. “They work their rear ends off. They build great relationships with the kids. That’s why the kids played so hard because of the relationships they have with these guys.”
Maybe so, but Lowry certainly played a role in motivating Columbine’s players, even when injuries wreaked havoc on them.
“He always pushed us to make us work harder than what we thought we could,” star running back Cameron McDondle said. “A lot of the times when a lot of us were ready to give up and everything Coach Lowry was like ‘you can do it, try your hardest and I’ll take what you give me.’ ”
What they gave him was a first state title since 2006 and an undefeated season to boot.
2010-11: Bradd Markusch, Chatfield ice hockey
OTHERS WORTH MENTIONING
Matt Plitnick, Columbine, boys lacrosse
— Coached the Rebels to a 15-4 record and the team’s first Foothills Conference title. The team’s only in-state loss came in the state semifinals to eventual champion Arapahoe.
Dave Atencio, Dakota Ridge, softball
— Led the Lady Eagles to a 20-3 record and a share of the 5A Jeffco League title, though it lost out on a tiebreaker to Chatfield. Dakota Ridge won the 5A Region 3 title and reached the state quarterfinals.
Mark Glombecki, Chatfield, ice hockey
– Coached the Chargers to a 14-7-1 record and a berth in the state semifinals for a second consecutive season before falling 3-2 in overtime to Regis Jesuit at DU’s Magness Arena.