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Coach leads team, defends all components of game

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A local coach leads his team with respect for all involved in the game because he’s been there too.

Fulton High School’s head football coach and basketball official, Patrick Lower, has been at the school for 15 years, coaching for nearly a decade. Lower said he’s been a coach, an athlete, and an official and all of those roles play a significant part in the game.

Lower noted the similarities between officiating basketball and coaching football are staying focused, minimizing downtime, and communication.

“Communication is so important in anything but for me it’s the same thing at half-time,” Lower said. “It’s not a time to rest, it’s a time to re-focus and get ready for the second half.”

Lower said it’s important to make sure the right positions are on the court or the field ready to go, so there’s not a loss of focus. As a coach, the Aledo native tries to keep his player’s minds from wandering waiting for the next command. He works to keep practice going steady, without unplanned breaks.

The coach started his love of sports as a child, and ensured he stayed with it in college. He said getting his IHSA license was one of the best things he has done in his life.

“I was one of those kids growing up that they asked you what your favorite sport was and it just depended on what season it was,” Lower said. He said one of his favorite parts as an adult is being around the athletes and seeing them grow up.

Athletes on his team say his values and respect have an impact on the team. One football player said the team appreciates his respect for all components of the game.

“It rubs off in a good way on us here,” said one athlete. “We have a lot of respect for everyone involved. It’s a big machine and all has to mesh for it to work.”