Allen (’92) a Hit at Ole’ Miss

It only took one game for Tom Allen to figure out what was different about big-time college football.

In fact, it didn’t even take that long. He saw the difference hours before the first kickoff.

Photo Courtesy Kevin Bain, University of Mississippi“We got off the buses for our spring game and there were a ton of people there, cheering us for a game that doesn’t even count,” Allen said. “To have 30,000 people at a spring game … that’s different than at any other level.”

Allen joined the University of Mississippi football staff this spring as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator. This will be his 21st season in coaching since graduating from Maranatha with an Administrative Business Education major in 1992.

“Coaching is a ministry,” Allen said. “I have always felt that Coach (Terry) Price and Coach (Ben) Peterson modeled that for me while I was at Maranatha. That was how they approached it. I was blessed to be under those guys and learn from them.”

Price said Allen was a natural leader and outstanding student during his four years as a middle linebacker for the Crusaders.

“He was driven, no matter what he did,” Price said. “He always demonstrated character, passion, and commitment. He wanted to be a great player and was willing to pay the price to get there. He’s taken the same approach to coaching.”

A Memorable Coaching Career

Allen, the son of a high school football coach, began his career (see below) as head coach at Temple Heights Christian School in Tampa, FL. He led that school to its first playoff berth in 18 years. Allen’s other stint as head coach was at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, where his teams won two sectional championships in three years.

His trademark as a college assistant coach has been as a leader of strong defenses. At Arkansas State, his most recent stop, the Red Wolves led their conference in scoring defense and total defense.

Allen spent three years as an assistant to current Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, whom he characterized as a “strong believer.” Allen said that shared faith has helped promote a positive atmosphere in the Rebels’ locker room.

”We are going to use Christ as our example for how we treat people and how we live,” Allen said. “I strongly believe you can’t separate your faith from your profession. It’s who you are. It’s who I am. It’s woven into everything I do. I am very open about my faith with (the players).”

Allen said he recognizes his ability to be a positive influence on the lives of all players, both Christians and non-Christians.

“We are placed in a unique position at a critical time in their lives,” Allen said. “We have the ear of these young men, and we can share absolute truth with them—God’s Word and the principles in God’s Word. When you share with them, live it out, and be an example, they will listen and respect you for what you believe. In time, those nuggets of truth we plant in their heart will grow.”

Welcome to the Big Time

Photo courtesy forwardrebels.orgAnother signal he was in the “big time” came when Michael Oher stopped by Allen’s office to introduce himself. The movie “Blind Side” was about a family that took an interest in Oher when he was a homeless young man and eventually adopted him. Freeze was Oher’s high school coach.

Allen and wife Tracy (King, ’92) have three children in 6th through 10th grade.

“I truly believe God put it in my heart to pursue this,” Allen said. “I heard Tracy explain to someone once how my dream had become their dream. That made me realize we truly were all in this together.”

Mississippi faces an uphill battle in the Southeastern Conference. The Rebels were 2-10 last season and their 2012 schedule includes conference road games at Arkansas, Alabama, and LSU as well as a non-conference game against Texas.

“It is by God’s grace that we rise and fall,” Allen said. “We are not going to worry about tomorrow.”

Tom Allen Coaching Career

  • 1992-94, Temple Heights Christian School, Tampa, FL, head coach
  • 1995-96 Armwood High School, Seffner, FL, assistant coach
  • 1997, Marion High School (IN), assistant coach
  • 1998-2003, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, IN, assistant coach
  • 2004-2006 Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, IN, head coach
  • 2007, Wabash College (IN), assistant coach
  • 2008-2009, Lambuth College (TN), assistant coach
  • 2010, Drake University (IA), assistant coach
  • 2011, Arkansas State University, assistant coach
  • 2012, University of Mississippi, assistant coach