Time to honor Coach Allen

Published 11:25 am Saturday, November 7, 2009

I was pleased and honored to be a part of the dedication of the football stadium at Bertie High School in honor of the late Roy L. Bond Jr.

The stadium dedication was something I believed in and talked about for quite some time, even prior to Coach Bond passing away last year.

It was nice to see the Bertie County Board of Education do what was right not only for Coach Bond’s legacy, but for Bertie High School. Now, the past will always be a part of what happens at the school. Moving forward, everyone who enters that stadium will know about Coach Bond and what he meant to Bertie County.

As the process moved along in Bertie County, it made me think about what has not happened in Hertford County. Despite the tremendous success he had in two stints as Head Football Coach, the stadium in Ahoskie does not bear, as it should, the name of Daryl Allen.

Coach Allen is a legend in North Carolina. His name brings good football stories from all who knew him – anecdotes, times when he led teams to victories they likely shouldn’t have achieved and many, many of his former players who credit him with making them the men they are today.

There is no doubt that Coach Allen touched a countless number of lives during his tenure at Ahoskie High School and Hertford County High School. He is a man who has always taught hard work, dedication and the belief that you should always give your best.

I have admired Coach Allen for longer than I have actually known the man. He was already a well-known and well-respected coach before I ever wrote a single story about football or any other sport.

Since I have actually gotten to know him, my respect has grown. He is truly everything that I was told he was and more. I respect him, admire him and think his dedication to Hertford County should be honored.

My single regret as the stadium at Bertie High officially became the Roy L. Bond Jr. Stadium was that Coach Bond was not there to enjoy it. He would have played it off, of course, and acted like he didn’t deserve the honor. He would have been humbled and, likely, embarrassed by all the fuss.

But, it would have been such a wonderful feeling to have been able to see his face when the people of Bertie High School stood together and cheered for the man who had given the Falcons their greatest years of glory.

Coach Bond would have loved it, even if he would have never admitted it.

Hertford County’s citizens need to make sure the same doesn’t happen to Coach Allen. They need to move now to honor his legacy, his hard work and his character by naming the football stadium in his honor while he’s around to enjoy that worthy accolade.

There is a board policy that likely prevents it at the moment, but a simple vote of the Hertford County Board of Education can change it. Coach Allen deserves the honor and respect just as Coach Bond did.

I hope the citizens, education leaders and football boosters will make sure he gets it soon.

Thadd White is Staff Writer and Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be reached via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or by calling 332-7211.