Chip Kelly knows the type of person Keanon Lowe is. It's why Kelly recruited Lowe as a football player at the University of Oregon, and years later had him on his staffs with the Eagles and 49ers as an assistant.
When Lowe prevented a school shooting Friday at Parkrose High in Portland, Ore., Kelly wasn't surprised at all. In fact, what the now-UCLA coach wanted to know was Lowe's form in going from a former receiver to a defensive player in a heroic act.
“I wanted to know his [tackling] technique,” Kelly said Saturday to Scott Osler of the San Francisco Chronicle. “He told me it was like when he was on kickoff coverage, it really didn’t matter how you tackled 'em as long as you got 'em to the ground.”
Lowe now is the head football coach and security guard at Parkrose. The school was on a 23-game losing streak when he arrived, and Kelly isn't surprised Lowe would step into a situation so far from the NFL.
"He’s just a special person that’s always wanting to help and serve," Kelly said. "He’s the type of kid you just want to be around him. He’s a special young man, and I think everybody is fortunate he was where he was yesterday afternoon.”
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Lowe played two seasons under Kelly at Oregon. He made 18 tackles on special teams between his freshman and sophomore years.
Keanon Lowe caught passes at the University of Oregon, but a tackle made him a hero in Warriors coach Steve Kerr's eyes.
Lowe, a former 49ers assistant, prevented a shooting Friday at Parkrose High School in Portland, Ore., when he tackled a student who was carrying a shotgun.
"Keanon Lowe, a remarkable act of courage," Kerr said Saturday before Game 3 of the Western Conference finals in Portland. "My hats off to him."
Kerr's father, Malcolm, was assassinated by a gunman in 1984 while serving as president at the American University of Beirut.
Kerr called Lowe's act "heroic" and said "we should all be thankful for him." Saturday also marked the one-year anniversary of the Santa Fe shooting that killed eight people, and Kerr went into detail about America's on-going problems with gun violence when asked about Lowe's heroics.
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Kerr participated in March For Our Lives last year, a grass-roots demonstration in the wake of the Parkland mass shooting. Less than two weeks before the march, he addressed a town hall in Newark, where he said: “There are many things to debate, but kids getting murdered ... that’s not up for debate.”
It's always been about more than sports for the coach.