In a surprising announcement, Noel Dean said he is stepping down as the head coach for the Lowell High School varsity football team. The winningest coach in Lowell history cited a reorganization at his employer ADDIX Gear and the opportunity to change positions there as the driving factor behind his decision to resign from the coaching position.
“The reality is I’m at an age where I can grow in a career,” Dean said during a press conference announcing the change in coaching staff.
At 50-years old, he has spent 27 years of his life as a head coach. He was first employed by Bendle High School on the east side of the state at age 22. When he was 27, he came to Lowell and has been the head coach here for 22 years. “I’ve never not been a head football coach,” he said.
While he has nothing but pride for his time as a coach in Lowell, he is looking forward to being able to devote all his energy to his new work position as well as spend more time with his family. In particular, he notes his daughter Darby will be playing soccer as a freshman at Ferris State University this fall. Without coaching responsibilities in Lowell, he’ll be able to cheer her on each weekend.
“I’m going to be that dad,” Dean said, noting that he and his wife will no longer have to divide and conquer their children’s activities. “This fall, there will be no more of that. [My daughter’s] daddy is going to be at her games.”
Coach Leaves Impressive Record as Legacy
Dean won’t soon be forgotten by area football fans. His 219-41 record makes him the winningest coach in the school’s history, and he led the varsity football team to 21 playoff appearances. Of those, 19 were in consecutive years.
Under Dean’s coaching, the Lowell Red Arrows have earned 10 league titles, 11 district titles and 8 regional titles. The team has taken the state championship three times and been the state runner-up three times.
His awards are too numerous to name, but they include 16 Regional Coach of the Year awards and three State Coach of the Year awards. Dean was named the AP Coach of the Year in 2000 and has received an honorable mention designation four times. He was the Lowell Person of the Year in 2010 and has helped raised more than $1.8 million for Pink Arrow Pride.
Community, Family React with Support
Dean didn’t make the decision to leave coaching without first consulting his wife and four children. “Every one of them was at peace with it,” he said.
His biggest concern was for his youngest son, Doak, who will be 16 and a sophomore at Lowell High School in the fall. He worried how his son would react to not having his father as a coach, something his other children got to experience.
“It’s going to be just fine,” Doak told Lowell’s First Look after the press conference. He noted that Lowell High School has excellent assistant coaches and an overall solid program.
Greg Pratt, superintendent for Lowell Area Schools, says there is no timeline to find Dean’s replacement but the school should have a plan in place within the next few weeks. “Our priority, first and foremost, is to honor this coach who has been such a part of the community,” he said after the press conference.
While you won’t see Dean at the varsity football games this fall, he and his family aren’t going anywhere. “He doesn’t need to be a football coach to be our dad,” said his oldest son Kanon, “and he doesn’t need to be a football coach to be part of the community.” Although the school may be losing its varsity coach, Lowell is retaining one of its finest citizens.