Driving south down Interstate 65 on his way back to Salem on Tuesday night, new LaPorte football coach Jeremy Lowery was putting things in proper perspective.
Lowery, who compiled a sparkling 21-4 record at Paoli the past two seasons with a sectional title, was house hunting for two days in LaPorte and found a condo to rent in the interim.
“Everyone you talk to, they’re very passionate about Slicer football,” said Lowery, who spoke over the phone Tuesday. “They have a strong administration in place. They haven’t turned coaches over. They’ve kept football coaches for long periods of time.
“When you start checking all those boxes, that makes it a really nice job.”
Ed Gilliland, the LaPorte athletic director, said 21 people applied for the job vacancy that was created when Dave Sharpe resigned this past fall to move to Indianapolis. Lowery was approved for the position at Monday's school board meeting.
“I just thought his passion and enthusiasm and knowledge of football stood out,” Gilliland said. “We think he’s going to be a food fit for football at LaPorte. He cares not only for the kids on the football field, but after football, as well.”
Lowery is no stranger to northern Indiana, having played for Hall of Fame coach Chris Geesman at Penn High School, graduating in 1991.
“When I started to get to know the people (at LaPorte), it reminded me a lot of Mishawaka — a lot of real personalities,” said Lowery, who starts Monday at the high school helping out in the physical education department. “I kept connecting with people, and I felt drawn there.”
Lowery was the offensive coordinator for seven seasons at Paoli prior to taking the head coaching job and was part of a regional champion Rams team in 2013. Prior to that he spent 10 seasons as the offensive coordinator at nearby Salem High School.
Lowery said Paoli has a lot really hard-working, dedicated, committed student-athletes.
“LaPorte seems like a larger version of Paoli,” he said.
He’ll also bring his flex bone offensive scheme to LaPorte and runs a 3-4 defense with multiple coverage options.
“What makes us a little bit different than other flex bones is we like to push the ball down the field in the air a little bit more than most flex bone teams,” Lowery said. “It’s not unusual for us to have 12 to 15 throws a game.”
Gilliland said four candidates were interviewed, and Lowery stood out.
“It’s just a good fit in a lot of different ways for Slicer football,” Gilliland said.
Once Lowery’s house in Salem is sold, he’ll move his family to LaPorte. He and his wife Brianne, have two children, daughter, Macy, 10, and son, Maddox, 6.
“They mean the world to me,” Jeremy Lowery said. “That’s what makes everything go. I’m just really excited to get us all up to LaPorte and start this new chapter in our life.”