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But last week he was named as one of the most successful pupils to ever attend Otahuhu College.
The former Kiwis coach was in Dunedin yesterday at an Otago Medical Research Foundation Club Otago lunch, and spoke about his life journey and what he had picked up along the way.
He said education was vital. Although he did not have great success at school, he had learnt through his life many things which had helped him.
Lowe (73) felt one of the most important things he had ever read was a quote from Oscar Wilde - "be yourself because everyone else is taken".
"I look at someone like Steve Hansen, one of the greatest coaches, maybe the greatest coach we've ever had, and now everyone is trying to be like him," he said.
"But there is only one Steve Hansen. You've got to be who you are."
Lowe said coaching came about having the ability to pushing the right buttons for the players.
Volunteers who went out and coached had huge responsibility on them and he admired them for their efforts. It was not easy but thousands of people gave it their best shot.
Lowe said sports science was taking over much sport. Although it had its uses he felt it was used too often.
"I remember being called back to Manly in 2009 when the side was going through a bit of drama. The players were out doing summer training and there was a whole lot of tents around the training ground.
"One of them had all this sports science in it and Manly was lucky enough to have the leading authority in sports science in New South Wales there. She was telling me how they could measure the G-force of players going from right to left, left to right, all great.
"But I said, `hang on, there is something missing'. They said `what, what have we left out? And I said `but can they play?"'
"That is what I want to know. Can he kick, can he pass, can he make a bust?"
Lowe said statistics were taking over much of the game but it still down to getting the best out of players.
Lowe was knighted earlier this year and he said it was the greatest thrill. He joked he wore the knighthood badge on his pyjamas to bed as he was so proud of it. His knighthood was for services to education, which is ironic given he left school at 14.
A function last week at Otahuhu College recognised Lowe's career after leaving school. Former Prime Minister David Lange had been given the honour previously.