Football coach and security guard juggles job and personal responsibilities while staying positive and influential
Driving his cart with a black baseball cap and whistle, sporting his PRHS spirit wear, patrolling the parking lots and bus stop, eating breakfast with co-workers, leading the football team in stretching, Gary “Coach” Clow – lives his dream of being on a team.
Challenged by the handicap condition Cerebral Palsy, Clow does not let the movement and muscle coordination disorder get in the way of his everyday life. Coach- as he is known to most students- has made a reputation for himself among colleagues and students proving to be an overcomer despite his muscular challenges, overflowing with kindness and positivity on campus and the field.
Coach grew up in Paso Robles graduating in 1985 with his many hobbies that kept him busy. He played many sports, including baseball and football, he also rode quads and ATV’s.
“I always played sports when I was little, I’ve never really let my handicap hold me back,” Coach said.
Growing up Gary’s biggest challenge was not being able to write legibly. He always had someone writing his work, while he lead the process with detailed directions. As a kid, during a test, he would go into another room with a helper, who would listen and carefully copy down what he was saying. Now Coach uses voice text on his Android to communicate over text.
He has always stayed positive throughout this challenging aspect of his life.
“I always felt it could be a lot worse,” Coach said.
Eight years after graduating he began coaching softball and football at PRHS. He is now the running back coach and helps with the offensive plan for each Friday night football game. Clow attends every after school and Saturday practice where he leads the team through stretches and helps to run the offense.
“Paso Robles has always been and will be a part of his life, “I’ve always been a Bearcat.” Coach said.
The incurable muscle and body movement disorder has not only made him appreciative but also smarter.
“I am mostly thankful for my beautiful wife Dawn, and three stepchildren and two grandchildren. They are the loves of my life,” Coach said.
Coach is often finding solutions to his everyday occurrences that are simple and easier for him to accomplish. Unlocking doors, driving a cart, and even walking have become normal experiences that he is comfortable with.
“It has made me a smarter person because I have always had to figure out an easier way to do stuff because I can’t really do things the way normal people can,” Coach said.
Recently Gary has become a security guard on campus where he is driving a golf cart, checking bathrooms, hall passes, and parking lots. Occasionally, Coach is given a hard time from students who run away after being disciplined but he calls for assistance and they are soon caught.
“Most of the students listen to me and respect me,” Coach said.
His favorite part about working at PRHS is “being part of a team”. He is known around campus as a uplifting and funny guy who is an inspiration to many. He has an amazing relationship with coworkers who are constantly laughing and having fun with him.
Every morning Clow and co-worker Charles Dominguez have breakfast where they look forward to going to work. Both Clow and Dominguez feel supported by one another.
“Laughs aside, it is great working with people that are kind, sincere and always look on the bright side. We communicate with each other every day. We can depend on each other no matter what,” Dominguez said.
Gary plans to continue working at PRHS. It’s the place where he says he can’t wait to go to work. Although Gary has had his challenges in life, being part of a team is one of his favorite and most valuable memories.