Mitchell Loewen earns a roster spot on the New Orleans Saints
LAHAINA – Back then he was a 5’6″, 135-pound sugar cane stalk of shoulders, elbows and knees that played linebacker and wingback for the Lahaina Chiefs of the Maui Pop Warner Football Association. Then he followed the path of his older brother to the true grit program up the hill at Lahainaluna High School and flourished there within championship parameters of that process.
He was honored as the Maui Interscholastic League Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 as he racked up 140 tackles, ten sacks and two interceptions for the top-rated Lunas.
Today, after a four-year career at the University of Arkansas, where he appeared in 36 games – nine of them as a starter – and graduated with a degree in business, Mitchell Loewen stands at 6’5″ and weighs in at 275 pounds.
He is a koa tree of a 24-year-old man – lean muscle tissue enveloping that tall frame and the wry smile that characterizes his personality topping it all off.
Loewen has plenty to smile about these days, as last week he made the 53-player National Football League roster cut for the New Orleans Saints to become the first Lahainaluna graduate to make it to the pros. He signed a three-year, $1.62 million contract last year before injuring his foot.
He sat out the 2016 season, came back strong this preseason and impressed the Saints’ coaching staff with his hustle and hard play.
Loewen plays all along the defensive line, is a force on special teams and is one of the long snappers.
“I make the best of the opportunities to get on the field,” he said. “Especially special teams – you have to go hard.”
There must be special joy around the Loewen household these days. Mitchell’s dad, Chuck, set the pathway for his sons, as he played professionally for the San Diego Chargers as an offensive lineman from 1980-84.
Brother Cole was an outstanding linebacker at Lahainaluna. And matriarch Paula takes it all in with a broad smile across her face.
Generations of West Side youth football players will now see the opportunities and pathways to success that are opened when a true Lahaina Boy reaches the top of his profession.
Luna co-head football coach Bobby Watson said, “We are all very proud of Mitchell coming from our little community. He is a humble person who has worked very hard to accomplish his goal. He is a player that we as coaches can now use as an example for all of our players that dedication and determination will always be things they can use throughout their lives. We wish Mitch and his family all the best.”