Former Inglemoor High player Jeremy Eggers knows what it’s like to be a component in the Vikings’ well-disciplined and hard-working basketball machine. Longtime head coach Greg Lowell’s squads display a ton of toughness when they hit the court, Eggers said.
“These are all characteristics he instilled in my team in 1988-89 and continues to teach to this day. I believe it is these characteristics that has led him to the long successful career he has had at Inglemoor,” added the former Viking, who’s now the athletic director at Bellevue College, about Lowell.
In his 32nd year as Inglemoor’s head coach, Lowell has scored a coveted spot in the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Lowell and four other coaches will be honored at WIBCA’s 45th annual banquet on July 23 at the Nile Country Club in Mountlake Terrace.
Lowell learned of the honor during the summer via a phone call from the WIBCA committee.
“It’s kind of humbling, really. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a pretty special thing.’ As it’s gone on, just the reality of it has really hit me to what a big deal it is,” said Lowell, 56, who also teaches math at Inglemoor. “I’ve been lucky. It’s been a great school and I’ve had so many good players. Great guys to coach with. I’ve never scored a basket there, the kids have done all that sort of thing.”
Without the support of his wife, Marianne — who teaches physical education and health at Skyview Middle School — and his players and assistant coaches, Lowell said he wouldn’t have reached the hall of fame.
Lowell said it was overwhelming when the Inglemoor administration and parents organized to have a congratulatory banner hung in the Viking gym before their first game this season.
Some former players were also in attendance to celebrate the big night.
As a bonus, Lowell’s former high school in Anacortes sent a note with a photocopy from the yearbook listing every basketball game from his senior year.
“I got emotional at that. Wow, who does that?” he said.
During Lowell’s epic Inglemoor run — he had an overall 395-341 record at press time — the Vikings qualified for the 4A state tournament five times, including a fifth-place finish in 2004-2005. His Viks notched the school’s first boys basketball state berth in 1991-92, and won the school’s first boys hoops 4A KingCo championships in the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons when powerhouses Garfield and Franklin played in the conference.
Eggers said that he gained a passion for coaching during his five years working with Lowell at Inglemoor as an assistant with the varsity, junior varsity and C programs.
“With this experience and learning from Greg, I was able to get a head high school coaching position, a Division I college assistant coaching position, a JC head coaching position and now a JC Director of Athletics position,” Eggers said.
Inglemoor athletic director Lance Gatter said that Lowell is known as the “dean” of the KingCo Conference.
“I have not talked with a coach in our league that does not have the highest amount of respect for Greg. Greg is very competitive but balances this with his respect for the kids,” Gatter said.
At Anacortes High, Lowell played basketball (his team was a three-time state participant), baseball and quarterbacked the football squad. He furthered his baseball career at Washington State University and graduated from Western Washington University.
He jumped into the basketball coaching realm straight out of college as an assistant at Bishop Blanchet for two years before taking an assistant job at Inglemoor one year prior to landing the head Viking job in 1988.
Lowell strives to get his teams to compete hard and work together each time the ball is tipped into play.
He enjoys the relationship-building aspect of the job and finds it rewarding when players return to Inglemoor to watch their kids who are now playing ball.
Sometimes, Lowell randomly runs into former players and they relive old times.
“They say they really enjoyed their experience in high school. Especially when they look back on it, some of them realize I was pretty tough on them, probably. Twenty-five years ago… but they realize maybe there’s a reason for it, too,” he said with a laugh.
Lowell said that since he’s had such a great time coaching, the years seemed to have rolled by quickly. He’s just as thrilled to be coaching now as he was from the start.
“There’s every bit more desire to do well. Right now (I’m) trying to get this senior class as far as we can get them because they’ve been such a great group of kids,” Lowell said.
Each time Lowell steps onto the court, he’s having fun working with the players and reaching for success.