personal life · teachin' school

a tribute to one of the best.

{this was originally posted on my Facebook this week…}

As with most high schools in the great state of Texas, the Boys Ranch Roughriders have a rival football team with an annual game to test the determination and talent of the players. The Oldham County Championship brings out the best in both the Vega and Boys Ranch teams. It’s always an exciting game. And this year, it is going to be extra special. We are raising money for the Mike Lozano Scholarship fund in memory of our beloved Roughrider football coach.

 
My own father is a coach, and I always saw a lot of his qualities reflected in Mike. He had a no-nonsense attitude about getting things done. He didn’t need a lot of words to get his point across. He was dedicated and worked quietly without recognition. Maybe that’s why I was first drawn to him. We worked in the same department at school for years. I was quickly adopted into a little Social Studies family of Lozanos with him, his wife, and his daughter. Together, Mike and I laughed our way through the meetings and paperwork even after being lightly scolded by his wife, our department head. His sense of humor and kindness helped me through my first few tough years of teaching.

Before and after every football game, I would ask how the team was doing. He always had a positive answer or spin to the situation. Even with games against Canadian and Stratford, he was always optimistic that we could possibly win. I watched him and the team from the sidelines of the games, and I noticed that he led his coaching staff with a quiet intensity. But if he started yelling, you knew to watch out. And if he turned his hat around, whew… you just got out of the way of Coach Lo. But, after every game, I would give him a hug. Win or lose, it didn’t matter. What mattered to him was that everyone involved strived and fought for the W.

Mike was truly a force of nature. We all thought he would beat the cancer. I didn’t even question it. So when I stood in the hallway of our high school with him one afternoon and he told me that he was done with treatment, I was heartbroken. I started sobbing, and he pulled me into one of his hugs. I should have been comforting him, but it was Mike who was telling me that it was going to be alright. That was just who Mike Lozano was as a man: kind, comforting, thoughtful, and always positive. He has left an important legacy as a grandfather, father, husband, teacher, and coach. I will remember him for all of the little moments he encouraged and pushed me. But the thing I’ll miss most about him is his hugs. Man, they were the best…

But, I’m just one person that was affected by Coach Lozano. There are thousands with similar stories like mine. Thousands of people who loved him just as much as I did and more. He is irreplaceable, and we all miss him immensely even years later.

Now, we are honoring him by offering a scholarship for a deserving high school graduate who wants to pursue a career in teaching and/or coaching. We know that these students (and all of the other people that he touched) will carry on the lasting legacy that Coach Lo has afforded to us. If you are willing and able to donate to this cause, please head over to http://www.coachmikelozano.org.

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