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Historic gym floor named for Coach John Rowe

A large crowd gathered at Trenton’s Historic Gym to see longtime area Coach John Rowe as he was honored with the naming of the old gym floor in his honor.
Trenton native Holton Browning gave the opening remarks about Coach Rowe saying, “You made a huge difference in a lot of young men’s lives. You made better men out of us.”
The Historic Trenton Gym was built in 1939. Doug Beach’s father, Frank Beach was the foreman for the building of the gym.
Former Trenton Coach John Vickers said that Coach Rowe was the reason that he wanted to become a coach. Coach Vickers shared memories of the summer swimming bus that Coach Rowe drove to Hart Springs during the summer of 1962. Coach Vickers shared the coaching career of Coach John Rowe. Coach Rowe graduated from Leon High School in Tallahasse and graduated from FSU in 1957. His first coaching job was at Green Cove Springs and then he coached two years at Bell High School. The next two years he coached at Rah Junior High in Tallahassee. Coach Rowe came to Trenton from 1962 to 1966 with a record of 75-24, his team won the Suwannee Conference Championship tournament two years. Then won the Suwannee River Conference one year and two district championships. Bronson was the next school for Coach Rowe, who coached there from 1966-1972 where his team made district finals every year and won district titles two times. He returned to Trenton from 1972 to 1974. Coach then returned to Levy County, teaching in Williston from 74-81 coached 3 years and won one district championship. From 1981-1984 Coach Rowe coached in Bronson where his team won 1 district championship. He returned to Gilchrist County in 1984 to coach until he retired in 1987. He was asked to come out of retirement to coach middle school boys and girls in Trenton. After 5 years in Trenton he left to go to Bell, where he coached the girls varsity team from 1993-96. They won two district championships and made it to the Regional Finals his last year, one game from the final four. The next three years were back in Trenton coaching middle school boys and girls. Then in 2001 he was asked to finish the varsity boys season at Trenton High.
During his career he was a football coach, basketball coach, baseball coach and a track coach. He was known as a strict coach for Coach John Rowe
who believed in fundamentals and conditioning.
A power point was shown featuring photos of his teams from years ago along with a number of newspaper clippings from his long coaching career.
Several former players and coaching friends spoke about his coaching style, sharing many memories from games. Coach Harry Hutson shared memories of coaching against Coach Rowe during the early years of their careers. Hutson said, “During the worst and best of times, John R. Rowe is always a Christian gentlemen.”
Coach Rowe thanked those gathered for the honor of having the gym floor named after him saying, “It is humbling recognition for me.” He went on to say that his parents divorced when he was very young and he found role models such as his Scout Master, Sunday School and Training Union Teachers. They were a good influence on his life so becoming a teacher and a coach was his way of repaying what they had done for him.
Riley Deen unveiled the floor name and then a wall plaque was revealed. The plaque was placed on the wall near the door and it states, “John R. Rowe, Sr. Court For Coach Rowe’s many years of dedicated service to the young men and women of Trenton High School and the surrounding communities. His commitment to excellence in the pursuit of teaching and coaching basketball left a lifelong impression on each player in a positive and meaningful way. March 29, 2019.”
Afterward, those attending enjoyed a time of fellowship with Coach Rowe and his family while refreshments were served.

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