Coach Spotlight: Damion Allen
September 30, 2012 by Halen Alemseged
The new head girls’ basketball coach starts working with the girls and talks about all his previous experiences.
“To me, basketball is more than just a game; it’s a tradition,” said Coach Damion Allen, the new head girls’ varsity basketball coach here at TJ.
On April 20th 2012, the interview process began in hopes of finding a new coach after former Head Coach, Steve Thomas, retired from coaching. “This year over 50 applicants applied for the head womens’ basketball coaching position, compared to 6 applicants in 2007,” said former Athletic Director, Lani Nobles who explained that the application process was rigorous. “Coach Damion Allen stood out with his enthusiasm, his love for the game, his very high basketball IQ, and his positive energy. Through the process, it was apparent that he wanted the job, and not only for the money,” added Nobles. This year, Coach Allen would have been Varsity Assistant Coach for the boys’ basketball team, but was willing to give up that title to be head coach for the women. “I’m excited for him to work with the enthusiastic girls we have, and I believe we will go far in the playoffs,” said Nobles.
As for Coach Allen, he has wasted no time in starting pre-season workouts with the girls. “There is no such thing as an off-season for basketball; we need to get in shape and get ready for a great season,” said Coach Allen, who is working with the girls in leagues, such as the Gold Crown league and the Metro State team camp. Coach Allen also offers a skills and agility camp every Saturday morning. “I expect a lot this season. I want the girls to have a fun season and to play with energy and confidence. I want the girls to feel like they are the best basketball players when they come in to that gym every practice and every game and feel the same way when they get out.” This year, Coach Allen will be changing up offense to allowing all players on the floor more options with the ball, and creating a tough defense-minded team. Allen says he looks forward to developing his players, and having a winning season. “I believe we can win the city title and go really far in the playoffs, final four maybe?”
His coaching skills come naturally; he has a lot of experience with basketball that he hopes to transfer into coaching the girls. He has coached the boys’ junior varsity basketball here at TJ, Joint Effort Youth and Pro Leagues, and Red Shield leagues. Coach Allen has been working at TJ for nine years, coaching various other sports such as track and football. “I love working at TJ; it’s a small community so everyone knows each other and it’s a really nice and respectful environment.”
Varsity players are ecstatic to start working with the renowned coach. Junior Kessanaet Negash, explains that she loves his style of coaching. “When Coach Allen walks into the school, you can hear him from a mile away, greeting everyone with his famous line, ‘Heyyyy, how you doin’ baller,’ and his smile, when he sees his players. I’m excited to work with him and I know we will have a great season.”
Basketball tryouts run from November 9th through the 11th, and with a tough season coming up, all of the girls are ready to work hard in hopes of a successful season.