Allen era ends

Published 7:37 am Thursday, June 6, 2013

My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”    — Author Unknown

AHOSKIE – There’s something to be said when legacy follows legend.

With the end of the 2013 school year, E. Daryl “Eddie” Allen will retire from teaching and coaching football as well as his athletic director’s post at Hertford County Middle School in Murfreesboro.

Allen spent five years at the old Ahoskie Middle School, and the last 25 at HCMS.

It’s the only job he ever had; and listening to him, it sounds like the only job he ever wanted.

The son of longtime Ahoskie High School and later Hertford County High School teacher and football coach, E. Daryl Allen, Eddie says between his dad and another of his hero-mentors: Richard Murray – athletic director and assistant football coach at AHS as well as HCHS – he couldn’t have had two better role-models.

“It’s been great,” the younger Allen said in a telephone interview last month. “Coming home and working with dad and Coach Murray.”

“I’ve really enjoyed working with the athletes and students here in HertfordCounty,” he adds.

After fulfilling his 30 years in the state’s education system, Allen will ride off into the sunset arm-in-arm, if you will, with his wife, Dr. Catherine Allen, director of Curriculum & Instruction for Hertford County Schools.

“We’ve been in this together since we came into this in 1983, and I’m really going to enjoy going out together,” says Allen.

The pair met while students at East Carolina University back in the 1970’s, later married, and have raised their family together here in the Roanoke-Chowan.

“I feel like it’s time for a younger person to take over (as coach and AD at HCMS),” said Allen. “Catherine and I want to travel; to start our next life together, and do some of the things we couldn’t do while working.”

“We planned this years ago,” he adds as you sense the humor in his voice. “And you have to plan these kinds of things just right.”

Allen says when he went off to college in Greenville he wasn’t quite sure of a major at ECU, but remembers the faithful words of his dad:

“He told me, ‘Do what you want, because the money’s going to come.’, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a football coach and a teacher,” Allen says.

“Along the way, learning how to be a football coach and an athletic director I couldn’t have learned from two better mentors than dad and Coach Murray,” he adds.

Allen assisted his father both at AHS and HCHS during the elder Allen’s tenure as head coach.

Since Daryl, Sr. retired first in ’91, then was coaxed into returning before officially hanging up his whistle for good in 2002, he’s helped his son and his son’s teams grow and get better.

“When he came out (of coaching) he came to work with me on a volunteer basis and it was great to finally work with dad on “our” team.

“I learned so much from him before, and I was still learning from him even then,” he adds.

Just as he credits his father with helping him learn how to be a good coach, he says it was Murray – recognized for his athletic stewardship statewide – who taught him how to succeed as an athletic director.

“The greatest thing I learned from him was preparedness,” says Allen. “He gave me a good foundation.”

Allen also gives credit to those who have and still assisted him at HCMS. “I really have to give a nod of appreciation to Maxine Reid, who was my former co-AD at the Middle School, and to Jane Futrell, who holds that post now.”

“They made work fun and it was super-great to work with the both of them,” he added.

Allen finished his final season as coach at the middle school on a winning note, with a 5-4 record.

“I’m going to miss the camaraderie on the field I had with my players,” he says. “I’m glad I had the chance to coach and teach them over the last 30 years.”

Allen is reluctant to name the best athlete he ever coached in middle school football.

“There were about 30 who were really, really, good,” he says. “But I could never rank them.”

He adds, “When I saw them years later with jobs and families it’s always great to see them and to talk about how it was back in the old days.”

Allen says his greatest joy is in reflecting back on the lives he touched.

“I must’ve coached over a thousand middle school football players,” he says. “I’d like to think I helped mold them into becoming fine young men.”

Looking back one last time with no regrets before this time he hangs up his own whistle, Allen says he has just one piece of advice for his successor as football coach and athletic director:

“Work hard, have a good time coaching and watching the players play the game,” he says. “But most of all – have fun.  You’re going to learn a lot.”