Coaches carry ‘Cats athletic aspirations

Assistant volleyball coach Carson Lowden hopes to be able to coach at the Division I level.Photo credit: Angelo Boscacci

Generally, when people consider the dedication and pressure that goes into sports they think about athletes. The coach becomes an afterthought, running around the sidelines as the game progresses on the field or on the court.

However, a strong coach is the backbone of a good team. Coaches face more and more pressure as they lead more professional teams.

Carson Lowden, assistant coach of the Chico State volleyball team, wants to coach at the Division I level. Gary Towne, Chico State’s cross-country distance coach, has some unfinished business he would like to attend to before he thinks about making such a move.

Towne is in his 18th year as a cross-country coach. His love for coaching started early.

“I was a student athlete and I really enjoyed the experience of participating in sports,” Towne said. “And from an early, young age, I enjoyed teaching young people different sports.”

Towne went to high school in Corning, Calif. After a stint at Shasta College he finished his college experience at Chico State. He aspires to win a national championship.

“We have been competitive nationally but we haven’t won a national title,” Towne said. “I feel like I have a lot of goals left to achieve before I consider making a move like going to Division I.”

Lowden’s tale is one of a different variety.

She attended UC Davis and that’s where she fell in love with coaching.

“I played volleyball at UC Davis and while I was there one of my head coaches told me if I wanted to be his head center that I needed to coach youth volleyball,” Lowden said.

Lowden sees herself coaching at the Division I level but doesn’t think she could land such a job because her coaching career is still so young, she said.

Becoming a head coach takes much more than knowing the ins and outs of a sport.

“You have to have a knowledge base in the sport that you are coaching, along with a technical and physiological understanding,” Towne said. “For me, it’s the understanding of human physiology.”

There’s even more pressure at the Division I level.

“I know that at Division I, it can be a little more challenging and cutthroat if your athletes don’t perform up to a certain level,” Towne said.

Coaching is a real challenge. It takes a special kind of person to lead a team at the Division I or Division II level.

“At times I certainly feel that Division II coaches aren’t held at the same level as Division I coaches,” Towne said. “It’s a real fallacy.”

Angelo Boscacci can be reached at [email protected] or @Boscacci6 on Twitter.