PORTLAND, Ore. — Parkrose High School football coach Keanon Lowe is considered a hero by many for tackling a student with a gun at the high school in May.
Now though, he is just happy to get back to focusing on football. The team’s first game is Friday night.
The football field is a place Lowe has spent a lot of time. The former Oregon Ducks Wide Receiver went on to join the coaching staff of the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. With his experience, he could have taken other jobs, but instead, wanted to come home to Portland.
“This is where I'm from,” Lowe explained. “This is my home. You know, I'm excited that I have the opportunity to coach young men and build them up, kind of from the ground up. I think a high school coach can be one of the biggest influences in any young man's life and that's why I'm here.”
When Lowe became the Parkrose Football Coach last year, there was not much of a program in place.
“We faced challenges from pretty much every aspect you could think,” Lowe said. “The equipment wasn't great, the numbers of kids participating wasn't great, kids showing up to practice, and showing up to workouts wasn't great, but again, we established a foundation of discipline and accountability and the kids followed through with that and grew as players and we grew as coaches and now year two is really exciting.”
Year two is also exciting because the kids get to focus on football, instead of the reason many of us now know who Lowe is. When not coaching, Lowe works as a security guard at the high school.
In May, he was sent to a classroom to check on a student. Moments after getting there, that student walked in with a shotgun. Lowe immediately sprang into action and wrestled the gun away. It is something he only talks about now if you ask him to.
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“When you look back at the security footage and just see how everything lined up with the timing of things, and uh, you know, just me being able to not flinch and just kind of react to the situation, be there for those kids, everything kind of lined up the way it was supposed to line up, you know, which is why it's easy for me to kind of flush it and put it in the past because, you know, it was something that was meant to happen, everything was positive that came out of that situation and I've moved on,” Lowe explained.
Lowe’s focus now is on football as his team practices for the first game of the season.
“It's great, you know, it's business as usual,” Lowe said. “Excited to get here and start a new school year, you know, all that stuff is in the past for me. I think, for the most part, everyone in the community, it's in the past for them as well, so we've moved on from that, and we're just excited to play ball.”
Lowe knows some walking the halls call him a hero. However, he will tell you he is just a guy doing his job.
“I think all the kids, I think every kid now in the school knows me, but nothing has really changed,” Lowe said. “Before that day I came to school every day to do my job and to coach these kids and since that day, I've done the same thing.”