2012 Recipient: Andy Lowry, Columbine (Colo.) High School


AFCA CONTACT: Vince Thompson, Director of Media Relations


Andy LowryWACO, Texas—Columbine (Colo.) High School head coach Andy Lowry has been named the 2012 Power of Influence Award recipient. Lowry was nominated by the Colorado High School Coaches Association (CHSCA). Presented jointly by the American Football Coaches Association® and the American Football Coaches Foundation®, the award will be given to Lowry at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner on Tuesday, January 8, at the 2013 AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Power of Influence award was created as a way for the AFCA and AFCF to honor a deserving high school football coach. Coaches who receive this award are recognized for their impact on their team and players, as well as the legacy they leave with the school and community. This award is not based on wins and losses; however, it is noted that coaches of powerful influence have longevity and success. It is the first AFCA award specifically designed to honor a high school coach.

“This award means much more that any other coaching awards that I have ever won,” said Lowry. “It goes beyond winning and losing and is an award for making an impact or difference in others’ lives, our school and community. I try to be a faithful person and a servant first in my job. God has blessed me in so many ways. I love my job working with young people and I have the best assistant coaches that any coach could ever wish for. They are the reason that we have won five state championships since 1999. This is an honor that I will accept on behalf of Columbine High School, my coaches, my family and most importantly, our great kids that have worked and excelled in our program for the past 19 years.”

Lowry began his coaching career in 1986 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Western State College. He moved on to Lakewood (Colo.) High School, where he rose through the ranks to become head coach by 1992. From there, Lowry found his way to his current position, the head coach of Columbine High School, where he took the reins in 1994. It was there that, in August 1999, tragedy struck, and the whole community was affected by the worst high school shooting tragedy in history. Lowry’s leadership and example, through his coaching, as well as his work in the community, helped mend the wounds that the town had experienced. Mere months after the tragedy, Lowry and his Rebel football team gave the town something to be excited about, as the team went on to win the 5A State title.

While racking up an impressive record at Columbine of 189-43 in his 19 years, Lowry has also been active in his community and has encouraged his staff to be active as well. When Greg Rund, a past player, passed away in Iraq in 2004, Lowry worked with the Rund family to set up a scholarship in Greg’s name, to go to a player that exemplified Greg’s unselfish attitude and commitment to the team. Lowry also works with the physical education challenge program, working with physically or mentally challenged students, frequently having students from the program lead the football team onto the field on Friday nights.

Andy Lowry

“I have been blessed to be one of Andy’s assistants for the past 19 years and during that time I’ve watched him build a program based on service to others,” wrote Tom Tonelli, an assistant coach at Columbine High School, echoing the sentiment of many that wrote in to support Lowry. “At the foundation of his coaching philosophy is an emphasis on developing relationships and having genuine respect for every person who plays for us. To Andy, working with kids is not a job, it is a privilege, and this idea not only guides our coaching staff, but has also had a profound impact on how I have come to view not only my players, but my students as well. You see, Andy sees the value and potential of human beings regardless of their speed or skill. And that is why every kid who plays at Columbine knows he has value.”

In addition to the 2012 Power of Influence Award, Lowry has received several other recognitions. He has been named Coach of the Year numerous times by several organizations, including Jefferson County five times, the Denver Post twice, the Denver Broncos three times, and he was named the Big 6 League Coach of the Year once. Lowry’s Columbine Rebel football team has won the Colorado 5A state championship five times (1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2011) and won their league a staggering 11 times. Lowry was also named a John Lynch Coach of the Month (2009) and the March of Dimes Inspirational Award (2000).

Other finalists for this year’s award were: Paul Maechtle, Southeast Hills High School (Bradenton, Fla.); Rick Wimmer, Fishers High School (Fishers, Ind.); Steve Hancock, Branson High School (Branson, Mo.); Larry Hill, Smithson Valley High School, (Spring Branch, Texas); Peter Moe, Washburn High School (Washburn, N.D.); Paul Monk, New Life Academy (Woodbury, Minn.); Mark Batton, Magnolia High School (New Martinsville, W.Va.).

Past Power of Influence Award winners include: Larry Dippel, Amarillo (Texas) High School (2002); John McKissick, Summerville (S.C.) High School (2003); Marcus Borden, East Brunswick (N.J.) High School (2004); Ron Stolski, Brainerd (Minn.) High School (2005); Sid Otton, Tumwater (Wash.) High School (2006); Rob Younger, Sweet Home (Ore.) High School (2007); George Smith, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) High School (2008), Jim Drewry, Booneville (Miss.) High School (2009), Brent Steuerwald, Shenendehowa (N.Y.) High School (2010), and Noel Dean, Lowell (Mich.) High School (2011).


“Coach George Smith is not only an influence on young people, but the influence is multiplied many times in the beliefs of the young people he helped mold into amazing human beings. George is an outstanding coach, but more importantly, he is an outstanding gentleman.” —Tina Jones, Principal of St. Thomas Aquinas High School