New Sallisaw head coach hopes to revive winning culture

BY GRANT NEUGIN
Reporter
12/20/2018 08:15 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Sallisaw Head Football Coach Randon Lowe walks the sideline preparing for his opponent. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Coach Lowe speaks to his players during a timeout. Lowe just completed his first year as head coach of the football team. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Sallisaw Head Football Coach Randon Lowe speaks to his team’s quarterback during a timeout. COURTESY
SALLISAW – In 1988, Randon Lowe was in elementary school when he went to his first football camp.

Waiting for him there was head football coach of Sallisaw at the time, Ron Etheridge. Coach Etheridge won two state championships in the early 1980s and currently works as the deputy executive director of Cherokee Nation Education Services.

During the camp, Lowe noticed all of the coaches having fun and enjoying themselves while they coached the youth. After the football camp was over, he knew exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

Lowe started taking mental notes of every coach’s teaching style through every sport he played. When he arrived at Sallisaw High School as a freshman in 1994, there was a new football head coach in charge, Ron Lancaster. Coach Lancaster eventually retired with more than 300 wins, a state championship with two different Oklahoma 6A high school football teams and a state championship in California. Lowe said he took mental notes of everything Coach Lancaster did.

“I wanted to mold my coaching philosophies around Coach Lancaster the most. He is one of the best, and definitely the best high school football coach I have ever met,” Lowe said. “He was a good mentor to me and gave me great opportunities to coach with him.”

Immediately following Lowe’s graduation from West Texas A&M University in 2003, Coach Lancaster hired the 23-year-old as an offensive coordinator at Muskogee High School. Lowe began sharing an offensive scheme he learned while in college known as the “air raid” offense. Lowe would often visit Texas Tech with the WTAMU coaches where the Red Raider’s coaching staff would share their knowledge of the offense. During that time, TTU had offensive masterminds Mike Leach and Lincoln Riley on staff.

Lowe did not stay with Muskogee High School long. He instead moved around to get a change of scenery and to gain more knowledge of the game. He ended up coaching as an offensive coordinator at Stillwell, Sallisaw, Roland, Broken Arrow, Tahlequah Sequoyah, Locust Grove and the University of North Texas.

In 2006, Lowe also went back to Muskogee High School to be the OC with head coach at the time, Matt Henessy. During Lowe’s five years with Muskogee, they made it to the 6A high school semi-finals every year. Muskogee’s football success earned them the nickname, “Legion of Doom.” In 2013, Lowe coached with Henessy for a second time at Locust Grove and helped change the culture. Lowe’s “air raid” offense has been successful at every school where he has coached.

Lowe has also been fortunate to coach some great athletes in his career, such as Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondback’s pitcher; Brayden “Cub” Scott, Memphis quarterback; Stacy McGee, Washington Redskin’s defensive end; Robert Thomas, Buffalo Bill’s defensive tackle; Zach Veach, Oklahoma State tight end; Mason Fine, North Texas quarterback; Jason Purdle, North Texas wide receiver; and Manny Bunch, Tulsa University free safety.

“Pressure is privilege,” said Lowe. “I would have never come to Sallisaw if there was no pressure from the community to win. I am doing what it takes to revive the culture of Sallisaw football.”

Sallisaw went 3-7 in 2018, but the school has a rich history of winning with 20 district championships, eight semi-final playoff appearances, two runner-up state championship trophies and two state championships. Lowe coming into his first head coaching position knows how tough Sallisaw athletes are and believes he can win with the players who are currently on the team.

His family, which includes daughters Julie, Maggie and Carlie Lowe, son Mickey Joe Lowe and wife Amber Lowe are his biggest support group. With his family by his side and the Sallisaw community behind him, Lowe is determined to make next season better than the last.
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