Within the Georgia Tech athletic department, Thomas Lozano was one that virtually everyone knew, admired and appreciated. A Tech honors graduate in 2002 and then a staffer in the department since 2004, Lozano took on a variety of roles in student services, compliance and communications.
Lozano faced daunting physical challenges, as he had cerebral palsy and required the use of crutches, but that was only part of what inspired Tech staff and athletes to respect and hold him in high regard. He held an undying love for Tech, its teams and its people.
After Lozano died last Thursday at the age of 38, athletic director Todd Stansbury remembered him in a statement as a “huge part of our GTAA family” whose dedication to Tech was unrivaled.
Other Tech staff who knew him shared their memories.
“Thomas lived his life on his terms. While his disability may have limited him physically, it did not limit him mentally. He never missed work, a GT Athletics event, or the chance to remind you not to take the ‘little things’ in life for granted. There is a certain seat in Russ Chandler Stadium that will hold a special place in my heart, as that is where we always had the best talks. The Friday before each football game, Thomas always had a prediction. No matter how big an underdog Tech might be according the experts, Thomas would never pick Tech to lose.” – Bret Cowley, compliance director
“Thomas epitomized ‘Tech Tough.’ I struggled at times to not feel sorry for him. However, Thomas never gave me an inch to go there. He went through every day with a level of determination and pride that few will ever possess. He has worked with our academic/student-athlete services staff for many years and in so many different roles, embraced the student-athletes as if they were family.
“Of course, knowing every stat on every student-athlete certainly quickly enamored them to him! We tackled the tough times in our lives together and I would thank him with brownies. It was the only allowable ‘thank you’ as he never asked for or reached out for help or assistance. Needless to say, I will always look for him in the Tech Center, dining hall, and at competitions, but will now only need to look up.” – Phyllis LaBaw, associate athletic director for student services
“In a lot of ways, Thomas was Georgia Tech athletics for me. There was no bigger Georgia Tech fan than Thomas. I will always remember sitting in Thomas’ seat at baseball, which everyone referred to as ‘Thomas’s suite,’ and just talking and asking him questions about past greats and future greats.
“We have started to use the phrase ‘Everyday Champions’ at the GTAA and this fit Thomas to a ‘T.’ His passion and love for Georgia Tech athletics was unmatched and reminded me what a special place this really is. Whenever I thought I was having a bad day, I would see or talk to Thomas and my day wasn’t so bad anymore. He just had that kind of impact on you. I was lucky to have known him and will never forget him.” – David White, associate director of ticket operations
“Thomas had an incredible gift — he made it impossible to leave any interaction with him without a smile. His positive attitude inspired all of us, and he had a quick, sharp wit.
“We shared a long-running joke, and we’d race each other to the punchline whenever we saw each other. When I visited Thomas in hospice care last week, he beat me to it one last time. His spirit was still strong, and as I was leaving, I asked if there’s anything we could do for him. His response: ‘Just win.’
“There’s no doubt that Thomas was looking down on us Thursday night as a fellow Shiloh High School alum, Josh Okogie, hit a late game-winning 3-pointer right in front of Thomas’ customary courtside seat. Thomas got his wish.” – Simit Shah, assistant athletic director, brand and ideation
“First of all, Thomas was just a great fan of not only our baseball program, but just Georgia Tech athletics in general. He loved the Yellow Jackets. You could find him at just about any and every Georgia Tech event. Just a really kind and caring person who persevered through a lot to get a degree here and always be here. He never asked for anything and was just a really, really nice human being.
“Working in the academic center, where athletes would come for study hours or tutors and things of that nature, he contributed greatly to the lives of many of our student-athletes and in a direct way because he was involved. Over and above that, he was there for them as a fan, and I know he’s going to be missed dearly.” – Danny Hall, baseball coach
The funeral for Lozano will be held Monday at 1 p.m. at Briarcliff United Methodist Church.