Coach of the Year: Randy Allen of Highland Park (Texas)

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor

Texas high school coaching legend Randy Allen led Highland Park to the second state championship – separated by 11 years – during his tenure thanks to a resilient effort in the Class 5A Division 1 state title game.

Randy Allen’s first state championship as Highland Park coach in 2006 did not offer a lot of anxiety and angst for Scots fans.

Allen’s quarterback, Matthew Stafford, an eventual No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, did not even need to throw a touchdown pass in the state championship game – a 59-0 victory over Marshall.

By contrast, Allen’s second state championship as Highland Park coach last fall had Scots fans on the edges of their seats until the bitter end. Highland Park overcame a 7-0 mid-second quarter deficit – and a 162-6 disadvantage in total yards at the time – to record a 16-7 come-from-behind victory over Temple.

“The character and competitiveness displayed by the Scots during the championship game was outstanding,” Allen said. “This was truly a team victory and adds to the great tradition of Highland Park football.”

Allen certainly has a lot to do with that great tradition.

The nominee for the 2016 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year ranks fourth all-time on the Texas coaching career wins list, and tied for first for most district championships in the state with 24. With an overall record of 208-27 and a playoff record of 58-31, Allen has helped make Highland Park the winningest program in Texas history.

“Coach Allen is a tremendous head coach who possesses all of the strong leadership qualities that a legendary coach has,” said team captain Bennett Brock. “He not only makes you a better football player, but a better man out of the many life lessons you learn through the offseason and our long football season.”

Allen’s coaching prowess was put to the test in the fall after his team got off to a slow start in early September. The Scots allowed an average of 29.5 points in the first two games, including a 40-37 loss in Week 2.

Allen and his staff made defensive adjustments, and the Scots evolved into the top defensive team in Class 5A Division 1. Highland Park held 10 of its last 14 opponents to less than 10 points. During that stretch, the Scots allowed 10.7 points per game. In three of their six playoff games, they shut out their opponent in the second half.

“Coach Allen was the defining factor in our team winning the state championship,” said team captain Matt Gahm. “We couldn’t have done it without his leadership, wisdom, and most importantly, his integrity. Coach Allen believes in doing things exactly right and with 100-percent effort. That is why his teams have had so much success.”

Allen’s Highland Park teams are historically strong at home – with a 91-1 record during his tenure. But this year’s team also was at its best at the two homes of the Dallas Cowboys – AT&T Stadium and the Ford Center at The Star. The Scots won their first three playoff games at the Ford Center by a combined score of 156-32. They won the last three playoff games at AT&T Stadium by a combined 61-38.

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