By Brian McLaughlin, FNF Coaches Correspondent
Coaching Profile: Brian Allen
Team: Lake City Columbia
Brian Allen was a stud linebacker at Florida State, one of the first 100 players taken in the 2001 NFL Draft and played five seasons in the league. Ranking right up with those life experiences is the opportunity to coach his high school alma mater—Florida powerhouse Lake City Columbia.
Allen is going into his sixth season with the Tigers. His program is coming off its best finish in his tenure—a 12-2 record and a spot in the state ‘final four’ of football, the semifinals. He’s taken the program to five straight playoff appearances and 49 wins in five seasons.
He is loving it. In a town known for its passion for the game and its expectation for excellence, Allen has kept the fans quite happy.
“It absolutely was a dream come true,” Allen told FNF Magazine, when asked about taking the job in 2011. “When I decided that this was the profession I wanted to be a part of, this was something I hoped to do. It has to be the same in the college game, like with Coach [Mark] Richt getting to go back to the University of Miami. It’s where the beginning took place.”
Sometimes Allen catches himself walking out of the field house and having flashbacks. See, in the first half of the 1990s, he was the one running sprints on that field, and hitting, and doing what the coaches said. He was also part of playoff teams and district titles as a player.
Allen loves the brand of kid he gets to work with. They’re receptive to discipline and hard work, almost as if they expect it. While some programs struggle to maintain order, order is something Columbia has usually had on its side. Columbia has had a lot of great coaches come through over the years—Danny Green, Bobby Simmons, Paul Quinn, Hobe Hoosier are just a couple of them—and Allen is quickly making the case to be mentioned as one of the best.
His approach is simple.
“I’ll take these rural kids who love discipline and structure and organization all day,” Allen said. “Some of the biggest compliments I get are about how we do things. Just from the warmups, that we’re so organized, it’s not freelanced. That we have top prospects who act normal.
“Our kids are going to play for four quarters, it’s part of their rural upbringing.”