Alabama Announces Volleyball Coach
"I am excited to welcome Ed Allen to the University of Alabama as our new women's volleyball coach," Crimson Tide Athletics Director Mal Moore said in making the announcement. "Ed is the best person we could have hired for this position at this time. He's one of the best coaches in the country and I believe we have found an excellent fit for our program. Ed is an accomplished coach who has won at every level of the sport – his record speaks for itself. We're thrilled to have him aboard and we are looking forward to the future of Alabama volleyball."
"I'm excited to have an opportunity to become part of an institution that has such a rich athletic tradition," said Allen. "It's equally exciting to come on board at a time when Alabama volleyball enters a new era with the opening of Forster Auditorium. More than anything else, we're looking forward to matching the tradition that so many coaches at Alabama have established over the years."
Allen, who becomes the fourth head coach in the 30-year history of the Alabama volleyball program, led Tulsa to a school record 31 wins, including a perfect 20-0 record in C-USA, this past season. The 20 conference wins also set a new school mark. He also guided the Golden Hurricane to the school's first ever NCAA Tournament victory, a 3-0 upset win over No. 13 seeded LSU in December.
In five seasons at Tulsa, Allen led his team to at least 20 wins each year, and compiled an overall record of 133-37 (.782) with a 65-19 (.774) conference mark. He was the fastest Golden Hurricane coach to reach 100 wins since the program began in 1976, accumulating more wins in the first five seasons than any other coach in the history of the program.
"The first thing we need to do is get after recruiting and bring in athletes that will complete extremely well in the SEC," said Allen. "Also, getting to know the athletes currently in the program and getting them to achieve athletically all that they are capable of achieving, will be important to begin the process of building a successful program."
A total of 24 Tulsa volleyball players were all-conference selections during Allen's tenure, including nine first team selections, two player of the year honorees, one setter of the year honoree, and one freshman of the year awardee. In 2010, Tyler Henderson was named the C-USA Player of the Year, and garnered her second straight AVCA All-American selection. Henderson was the second all-American for Tulsa to be coached by Allen.
In eight seasons as head coach, Allen guided his teams to eight regular season or tournament Conference USA championships. His first squad (2006) at Tulsa won the C-USA regular season title, while his second (2007) won the C-USA postseason tournament crown, earning the school's first NCAA Tournament berth.
"It was really good to talk to the coaches that visited the University, but for me, coach Allen was the best candidate for the job," said sophomore outside hitter Kayla Fitterer. "He seemed to be the most enthusiastic and the best person to make a change in our program. We need a coach that knows how to win, and he's been able to do that on every level. We play the best of the best every weekend in the SEC, and I believe he's the coach who can prepare us to beat those teams every night."
By defeating regular season champion Marshall and defending tournament champion UAB, Allen led the Golden Hurricane to their first-ever NCAA Regional with Conference USA's automatic bid in 2007. The Hurricane set 13 school records during the 2007 season. In 2006, Allen not only led the Golden Hurricane to their first-ever conference regular season title, but he also led TU to a then school record 13 league victories. The 27 wins were also, at the time, the most victories for a TU squad since the NCAA officially recognized the sport with a championship in 1982.
Allen added, "Along with their ability to show up everyday prepared to get better, having athletes that have a clear idea of the priorities in their lives and understanding the significance of what they are doing at an institution helps to build a successful program. We will do a great deal in pushing the athletes, on a daily basis, to achieve all they're capable of achieving."
In 17 years as a collegiate head coach, Allen has compiled a 472-176 (.728) career coaching mark, while coaching 61 all-conference performers and eight conference player of the year selections. Allen has earned conference coach of the year honors six times in his career, including the 2006 and 2010 Conference USA Coach of the Year award.
Prior to going to Tulsa, Allen spent three seasons (2003-05) as the head volleyball coach at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. During his tenure, Allen's teams compiled an overall 98-18 record, a 39-3 conference mark, won three straight South Atlantic Conference Championships, two conference tournament titles and qualified for the NCAA Division II National Tournament twice. At Presbyterian, Allen coached three conference players of the year, two conference tournament MVPs, one freshman of the year, 12 all-conference players, five all-region selections, and two all-Americans.
Before that, Allen spent 11 years as head coach of the Anderson University volleyball program in Anderson, Ind. During his tenure, he built the program into one of the premier NCAA Division III programs in the nation. His teams compiled a program-record 11 straight winning seasons, including nine 20-win seasons, won 17 tournament titles, and posted a 267-128 (.676) career record. He coached 34 all-conference, 23 all-tournament, and two conference player of the year selections during his tenure with the Ravens.
Allen also served as assistant director of athletics at Anderson University for seven years where he was responsible for facility management. He is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and in the past served on the NCAA Division II Head Coaches Committee, NCAA Division II South Region Poll Committee, and NCAA Division II South Region Player Committee while at Presbyterian.
In five of his final six years at Anderson, Allen's teams earned Academic All-America mention and in each of his 11 years as head coach at Anderson the team compiled at least a 3.0 GPA. He also coached four academic all-region and two academic all-American selections at Anderson.
Prior to moving to the collegiate level, Allen was an assistant volleyball coach at Pendleton Heights (Ind.) High School for three years (1989-91) and also had a two-year mark of 33-6 as the junior varsity coach.
Allen earned his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1988 and his master's degree in athletic administration in 1996, both from Ball State (Ind.) University.
Allen, 46, and his wife, Karis, have three sons: Drake, Payton and Nolan.
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