Friday, January 8, 2010

Surprise candidate for AHS football job

The search for the next Amarillo High coach got thrown a curve at the end of the season with an unexpected applicant. Remember Rodney Allison?

For those of us about 50, we sure do. Allison was an All-Southwest Conference QB at Texas Tech who led the Red Raiders to a 10-1 regular season and a share of the conference crown in 1976. A Heisman Trophy candidate as a senior the next year, a leg injury against Texas A&M derailed his season.

Allison was the most competitive player I've ever seen. He was a mixture of confidence and talent and willed teams to win.

His coaching career took him into the college game immediately where he's spent the next 28 years at Tech, Duke, Southern Miss, Auburn, Clemson and UT-Chattanooga. He was offensive coordinator at Auburn, defensive line coach at Clemson, and from 2001-2008, head coach at I-AA Chattanooga.

He was only 17-51 there where he was often cannon fodder for bigger programs as this picture of him shaking heads with OU's Bob Stoops shows. If he were 51-17, it's doubtful he would be looking at high school jobs. But the reality is he is.

Now the Odessa native is ready to return to his native roots. In his early 50s, he had made it known he wants to end his career as a Texas high school head coach. He and his wife have family in the Odessa area. He's targeted six openings in Texas and has let it known the Amarillo High job is his top choice.

There have been those who've talked to Allison and found him sincere, humbled and excited about a new coaching direction. So much so they want to know what's the catch? Apparently there's not one.

New Amarillo ISD athletic director Brad Thiessen is a big part of the process that makes the call for his successor. Thiessen was the head coach for the Sandies the last four years.

It was thought his defensive coordinator Jason Kirkpatrick was essentially rubber-stamped into the position. Bushland's David Flowers, Dumas' Mike Burt and Muleshoe's David Wood have also had contact.

Allison has certainly come out of the blue. But how could he be summarily dismissed? Certainly there are some concerns about a career college coach wanting to come to high school. It's a different animal, primarily being the structure of the public school system. Allison would even have to get certified through the PACE program.

But in performing due diligence into what may be the most important hire Thiessen makes, how could Allison at least not get an interview? That much is owed to the Amarillo High community.

A decision is expected to be made next week, and let's hope homework has been done on all the viable candidates. I'm not necessarily saying Allison is the best fit at Amarillo High, but he's going to make a quality head coach at some high school in Texas. That much is a fact.

1 comment:

Bart said...

I have been close to the Sandie football program for some time as a player and a fan. Would I like to see a guy like this interviewed, of course…do I trust Brad and the Administrators to select the right man for the job, for sure.