Terry Lowe receives Coach’s Lifetime Achievement Award
He is the architect of Greenwich High School’s storied swimming team. He began Greenwich’s successful water polo program and has taught hundreds upon hundreds of youngsters in town to swim at Rocky Point Club over the years. He’s Terry Lowe, of course, and Friday, he received his latest, well-deserved honor.
Lowe, who has dedicated his time to mentoring and guiding others for more than five decades, received a big ‘thank you,’ Friday inside a crowded banquet room at Greenwich Country Club — a room filled with individuals who have cherished their time with him.
The Greenwich Old Timer’s Athletic Association presented Lowe with the 2017 Coach’s Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor that went to a coach who is still achieving plenty.
The legendary coach took over the Greenwich High School boys swimming program in 1967 and since the 1970-71 season, the Cardinals have won an astounding 46 FCIAC Championships, while finishing second once.
“Coaching has been my life in so many ways,” said Lowe, who was joined by his wife Joan, son Zach and daughter Sarah at the event. “I’ve been blessed to work with so many wonderful young people — boys and girls and gentlemen at the high school — and families who have helped me in so many ways. They taught me about what it means to be committed and to set standards for members of my teams.”
Besides dominating the FCIAC championship meets, Lowe’s GHS swimming squads have garnered an unprecedented 34 State Open titles and have captured more than 20 CIAC Class LL titles.
During his heartfelt speech, Andy Dutter, who swam at Greenwich High from 1979-82, recalled the lessons he learned from Lowe.
“The five important aspects I learned from him were grace under pressure, working harder than anyone else, commitment, putting the greater good before oneself and modesty/humility,” Dutter said. “It’s not only the championships I remember, it’s the education I received from him beyond the pool. He treated us as young men and was always willing to help us with college applications, or through tough times, such as family illnesses and misfortune.”
A member of the Connecticut Coaches Hall of Fame, FCIAC Coaches Hall of Fame and Fairfield County Hall of Fame, Lowe graduated from Dartmouth College and received his master’s degree at Wesleyan University. He was hired to teach mathematics and coach swimming at Greenwich High School in the late 1960’s and the rest is successful history.
“I expected to coach for a long time, but 50 years — you never know,” said Lowe, who said during is speech that he will continue to coach swimming at GHS and his beloved Rocky Point Club for several more years. “I’ve been fortunate to have athletes who are dedicated to the same principles as myself and our coaching staff and I’ve had good health.”
Zach Lowe swam and played water polo for his father while at Greenwich High and Rocky Point Club.
“It was unique, having your father as your coach,” Zach Lowe said. “It was interesting. Not many kids get to see their parents at work and at home. It was a great experience.”
A senior writer for ESPN, where he covers the NBA, Lowe credits his father for inspiring him to branch out and follow his interests.
“My dad told me if you want to succeed you have to work really hard,” Zach Lowe said. “I watched him wake up at 5:30 a.m. each morning to lift weights with the high school kids, before a full day of teaching classes at school. This was before he had a workout with his team after school. Whenever I’m dead tired, I remember how hard my parents worked.”
Swimming success for Lowe has also come at Rocky Point Club, where he has coached youngsters for 38 years. Over the past 14 years, Rocky Point has claimed seven Fairfield County Swim League championships.
Westhill High School and Roxbury Swim & Tennis Club swimming coach Rick Lewis was a member of Greenwich’s 1972 team, which captured its first State Open title under Lowe’s watch.
“A lot of the things I do to this day are things I learned from Terry,” Lewis said. “He has served as an inspiration for me and a mentor. He has supported the sport and athletics so much over the years.”
After swimming and playing water polo for Lowe’s GHS squads, Paul Ramaley served as an assistant coach for Lowe at Greenwich. His six siblings also either played water polo or swam for Lowe.
“He has been one of the biggest mentors of my life,” Ramaley said of Lowe. “He has a great way with kids and he knows how to get the best out of them. As a colleague, it was great working with him. He has passion in everything he does.”
Lorrie Hokayem, Greenwich’s girls swim coach, has also spent the past several season’s assisting Lowe with the boys team.
“His top priority is the four-year development of a swimmer, particularly with technique,” Hokayem said. “He spends as much time with the novice freshmen as he does with his outstanding All-American seniors. This focus on the future, I believe, is one of the key ingredients to the program’s perennial success.”
Hokayem has noticed the rapport Lowe shares with his athletes.
“Watching old swimmers and water polo players routinely stop by the pool years later to say ‘hi’, or update him on their lives is a testimony to the amazing impression he has made over the years,” Hokayem said.
In the fall of 1975, Lowe started the water polo program at GHS and proceeded to post a impressive record of 844-169-12, including 18 Eastern Interscholastic Championships, before retiring as water polo coach in 2013.
“I was in the right place at the right time to start such a program,” said Lowe, who has coached numerous All-American swimming and water polo players at Greenwich High. “At the time, water polo did not really exist in this part of the country, so it helped changed the landscape of aquatic sports in Greenwich.”
What many people don’t know is that Lowe also laid the groundwork for the inception of the Greenwich’s rugby team. During his tenure in Greenwich High’s student activities office, he started the rugby team in 1986 and was an advisor for the team its first two seasons.
“Beginning programs like that is more important than the championships,” Lowe said. “Creating athletic opportunities for hundreds of athletes is really important.”
First Selectman Peter Tesei was on hand to congratulate Lowe, who paid tribute to the many assistant coaches he’s worked with.
“I have been so lucky to have so many wonderful coaches,” said Lowe, who chose to have $1,000 donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich on behalf of the Greenwich Old Timers Athletic Association. “They have really helped stabilize each program. They have an impact in terms of giving the team another voice, having another set of eyes and helping me develop the technique of an athlete. They have really made a difference.”