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Utes football team pay their respects to Aaron Lowe at his funeral in Texas

(Friends and family pay their respects to Aaron Lowe during a funeral service at Family Cathedral of Praise on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Mesquite, Texas. Photo: Brandon Wade, Associated Press)

MESQUITE, Texas — Hugs, tears and messages of hope during the funeral for University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe.  The entire team, along with the coaching staff, made the trip to Texas to make their final goodbyes in a somber but optimistic service.

An officiant holds up Aaron Lowe’s football helmet in his honor during a funeral service at Family Cathedral of Praise on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Mesquite, Texas. Photo: Brandon Wade, Associated Press

To start the service, Lowe’s helmet was slowly brought down the aisle at the Family Cathedral of Praise in Mesquite, Texas, while religious leaders sang the spiritual song “I Shall Wear A Crown.”  The helmet was placed on top of Lowe’s casket.  Inside, Lowe was dressed in his uniform. His jersey, a block “U” and several photos flanked his casket. 

Head Coach Kyle Whittingham told the audience that the team will never “get over” Lowe’s death, but they will find a way to get through the pain.  Whittingham drew applause when he said the U will retire the number 22 to honor Lowe and Ty Jordan, who also died in gun violence.  Plus, Whittingham announced the establishment of the Aaron Lowe Scholarship Fund.

He said, “I’m proud and honored to be the first contributor to that fund.  That’s an honor for me and it’s another way we’ll be able to remember Aaron through the years.”

Funeral of Aaron Lowe: “Kindness in his veins”

One pastor who knew Lowe from a young age joked they always knew he would become a star athlete based on how fast he would “run from a whooping.”  However, Lowe’s brother, Chris, said Lowe never really got that many.

“He was always the meekest and the kindest throughout his life,” he said.

His friends and teammates described Lowe as the kind of person who loved his fellow athletes, considering them as family members.  Cornerback Coach Sharrieff Shah said Lowe would love others just for the sake of loving.

Even when Shah had to be strict, Lowe would end the conversation with, “You still love me, though.  Don’t you coach?” 

The cornerback coach said Lowe made him realize people still need to love those they care about, even if they don’t meet your expectations.

“Even though you didn’t get your foot in the ground on that backpedal, I still love you — even though you missed that tackle, I still love you — even though you ran the wrong way, and I don’t know why you did that, I love you,” Shah said.

Be 22% better every day

After Lowe died in a late September shooting, Shah made the team promise to aim for 22 percent better in everything they do, in honor of Lowe.

“That may not be a whole lot.  Maybe, it’s just if you said to your mother in the week, ‘Mom, I love you.  I said it ten times.’  Say it two more.  Just two more.  ‘I got ten reps.’ Can you get two more?  That’s all,” Shah said.

Other players described Lowe as the big brother they always needed.  Others said Lowe’s memory motivated them to victory over USC this weekend. 

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