PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Parkrose High School’s football coach believes his life and experiences put him exactly where he was supposed to be on May 17 when a student brought a loaded shotgun to the school.
The former Oregon Ducks wide receiver opened up about his football career: from an NFL attempt to an assistant coaching stint with his former head coach, Chip Kelly.
Lowe said it was a longtime friendship with Taylor Martinek that played a pivotal role in bringing him back home.
Martinek, a teammate from Jesuit High School and member of the Portland State football team, struggled with addiction to painkillers after several sports-related surgeries.
His death — from illegal pills laced with fentanyl — was the tragedy that called Lowe home to volunteer with Jesuit’s team.
From there, he found the opportunity to coach at Parkrose High School, turning around a team with an 0-23 record.
While earning an income as the school’s security guard, Lowe found himself face to face with a gunman on May 17.
The coach tackled the man and wrestled away his armed shotgun. No one died that day. No one was shot.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” Lowe told Sports Illustrated. “I was there for a reason, at the right time. I truly believe my entire life prepared me for that moment, not to flinch.”
The accused gunman — Angel Granados-Diaz — is currently awaiting trial. He faces 4 charges, including 2 counts of being in possession of a gun in a public building, recklessly endangering and possession of a loaded firearm in a public place.
“I never thought about my life,” Lowe said. “This isn’t heavy on my soul. The universe has been working with me for a long time.”
Lowe is now preparing for another school year in the community he is forever connected to.
“I’m just excited to be here for this community and to continue to help these kids,” he said. “It’s all about that next generation.”