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Q&A with Alford “Bro” Lowe Sr.

Inaugural recipient of the Norman Goldstein Service Above Self Award

Sam Heikell and Jake Rehfeldt
Originally published June 15, 2017


Photo courtesy of Rowland StudiosAlford “Bro” Lowe Sr. singing the national anthem to kick off the night. He was the inauguaral recipient of the Norman Goldstein Service Above Self Award. He is retiring as the Head Custodian this year but will remai…

Photo courtesy of Rowland Studios

Alford “Bro” Lowe Sr. singing the national anthem to kick off the night. He was the inauguaral recipient of the Norman Goldstein Service Above Self Award. He is retiring as the Head Custodian this year but will remain coaching volleyball.

What made sports night special to you?

It was for showing the athlete’s accomplishments, showcasing them, what they stand for and what the school stands for. It shows that it is about more than the athletics, it’s about the athletics and the academics, with the athletes that have more than a 3.0 and how they have a total balance of the whole school. I love being able to see what all of the students are doing beyond the students that I coached. It was also great to see some students come back who I coached and I haven’t seen for maybe 20 years.

How many years have you been at Ballard?

I’ve been coaching here for maybe 37-38 years, I was here when Koop was a student. I started with Basketball, and then Mrs. Hoover, which is Mrs. Rees’s mom said “You’re gonna help coach volleyball” and I said “I don’t know nothing about Volleyball,” she said “Don’t worry about it.” Mr Young was the coach at that time, he’s the one that got me into coaching. He was the head basketball and volleyball coach here. Mr. Young let me learn and get away with more until I was more skilled, and as I progressed I just got better and better. I became the coach for the volleyball team and the coach for JV basketball too. Mr. Young told me there was a opening for softball coach, so I applied for it and got the interview. They asked me how I heard about the job and I told them Mr. Young and the girls [from the volleyball team] told me about it and they said “Ok, you’re hired.” This was way back in ‘97 when it was still slow pitch. We switched from slow pitch to fast pitch in one day because the parents sued the district. UW was playing fastpitch and they said their children were being deprived of the opportunity to play on a college level. We made the playoffs, and I did softball for the next 16 years. They did a three-peat in metros, we won the district tournament, district championship and had two trips to state. I started at Ballard in 1981, but I’ve been working for the district since ‘72, which must be 47, 48 years. But now I’ve got 15 days left.

How have you seen Ballard sports change in your time here?

Way back in the day, we had players that played sports all year round and played different sports. We would get players who had never played the sport before and they wanted to play, we had kids we brought from the bottom to the top. Same thing with softball, we only had one or two who had ever played softball before, so we could teach the players the way that we wanted to do things and it would be all they knew. Now they have a different mindset, they’re experts on just one sport. Back then there were more three sport athletes, and now it’s a surprise when you have someone like Megan [Mcalister] who has varsity in three sports. Back then that was just an athlete.

 

How do you want to be remembered at Ballard?

Just being me. Working, doing, if kids want to talk they have someone to talk to, just being there for them.

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Q&A with Alford “Bro” Lowe Sr.