LIBERTY — Roger Lower had no interest in entering the spotlight.
The Liberty North softball coach knew he just earned his 500th career coaching victory, but it was senior night for his surging Eagles and he didn’t want the attention.
Amanda Self, Lower’s assistant, knew it was a big deal.
“It’s a huge milestone,” said Self, who also played under Lower at Blue Springs. “He’s been winning since before I was born and will probably continue that for however long he wants to.”
Lower’s 500th win was an Eagles’ 7-0 result over St. Joseph Central on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Liberty North.
To celebrate in his way, Lower, with the game ball in his hands, handed over his cellphone to Self and asked her to take a photo of him and his seniors.
That’s when Self knew something was up.
“He’s a very humble person. His 500th win came very silently,” Self said.
Lower, who’s in his third year at Liberty North after winning three state titles during his 19-year tenure at Blue Springs, deflected any praise for the milestone victory.
“I don’t think you ever set out to get 500,” Lower said. “When I retired from Blue Springs I think I had 458 there, so I knew that it was within reach but it wasn’t something that I was going for.”
Self said there’s much more to Lower beyond the wins.
“He’s been such a big part of my story and to be part of his is very huge,” the assistant coach said. “He held me accountable as a player and now he does every day as a coach as well. It is an honor to play for this man and coach for him. He had one of the biggest impacts in my life, so to be able to continue to learn from him at Liberty North is one of the bigger honors I can think of.”
The coaching pair estimated that they’ve been together for about 150 of the wins with Self as a player and then as a coach.
Since win No. 500, the Eagles (19-4) have tallied five more wins to bring his win total to 505, including a 5-4 victory over Liberty on Monday, Oct. 7.
While the accolades are nice, Lower said he coaches to make an impact on kids.
“Nobody’s in it for the money,” he said. “You do it because you like being around kids and you enjoy the game. I’ve had some really good kids.”