Sometimes this time of year, a hire is made for a new football coach, and the new name seems to appear to fit right in with the position.
Woodrow Lowe Jr. and North Side High School seem to go together that way.
In the days leading up to the announcement as Lowe as the new chief of the Indians’ football program, a lot of the coaching circles locally were circulating names who’d applied, who they’d heard had interviewed and who they thought would get the job.
Lowe’s name never came up in any conversations I was a part of, which says something for Jackson-Madison County Schools’ ability to keep things under wraps as well as Lowe’s.
But knowing Lowe’s background and accomplishments in rural West Tennessee in the past eight years, Lowe is a premium fit for North Side.
Just taking a look at the topics covered when he had his first team meeting last week, he discussed college opportunities, media training, grades, test scores, accountability, standards, being held to those standards and working hard in all aspects of a high school football program.
A lot of those topics are things you typically here in a football coach’s opening speech to his team or the media, but Lowe’s seemed different since there was a proven track record of success there.
Did Lowe ever lead his former teams – Bolivar and Fayette-Ware locally – to deep playoff runs or championships? No, but he got them in contention for those very quickly, and it’s not that big a stretch to think if he’d stayed at either place to theorize the Tigers or Wildcats playing the week before or the week of Thanksgiving with a region championship plaque sitting in the school’s trophy case within another year or two.
Can North Side see that kind of turnaround as quickly? That’s a definite possibility if Lowe can get the athletes to return to the fieldhouse, which he’s shown an ability to do that.
The Indians program of a decade ago under former coach Tab Vowell that went undefeated in 2010 and ’12 before falling in the state quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, had a sense of belonging for the players that none of them possibly ever had outside their immediate families before then and maybe haven’t experienced since.
I know Vowell’s successor Jesse Powell worked close enough with his players that I’m sure a similar environment was fostered under his leadership as well, which is why the Indians had some success under him when not many outside the program thought it would happen.
So the students and potential athletes at North Side want to be a part of something special, and Lowe is an ideal leader to try to transform that potential into reality.
He had most players’ phone numbers before he left that meeting last week, and he had them texting him a selfie so he could put faces to names and be able to hopefully adequately communicate with them when they return to school in January.
He pledged to take athletes who wanted to camps to put them in front of coaches and scouts to give them a better chance at landing a college scholarship offer.
He plans to help train them on dealing with the media so that if a microphone and camera is put in front of them after a game, they know how to react without embarrassing themselves or their school/program with the end goal of having them ready to talk to reporters after a game when they get to college and play there.
Lowe is bringing a plan of success to the Indians’ football program. Time will tell if that plan can be executed successfully.
Brandon Shields is the managing editor for The Jackson Post. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or on Instagram @editorbrandon.