Jimmy Allen, who spent the previous six seasons on Zach Spiker’s coaching staff, has been named as Army West Point’s new head men’s basketball coach, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Boo Corrigan announced today. Allen becomes the 31st head coach in the program’s 114-year history.
“As we studied our diverse and talented pool of coaching candidates from across the nation,Jimmy Allen’s name and body of work continued to rise to the top,” Corrigan said. “Jimmy played an integral role in our team’s most recent success, helping lead our program to four straight 15-win seasons for the first time in nearly a century. He is a passionate leader, a dynamic recruiter and a man of great character. We feel Jimmy Allen is the ideal fit to lift our men’s basketball program to even greater heights.”
“We’re excited to have Jimmy at the head of our men’s basketball program,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, Jr., USMA Superintendent. “As an associate head coach Jimmy played a key role in the team’s recent success. As the son of a graduate who spent a large part of his childhood on West Point, he’s internalized the ideals of Duty, Honor, Country and is committed to our mission of developing leaders of character. We’re confident that, under Jimmy’s leadership, the program will continue to contribute to the development of our Army’s future leaders without missing a beat.”
Allen held the position of associate head coach during the 2015-16 season as Army returned to postseason play for the first time since 1978.
In addition to Army’s participation in the 2016 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, the Black Knights won 19 games for the first time since 1977-78 and the team set a program record for road wins with 11.
Allen was an integral part of Army’s success over the past four seasons and the Class of 2016 finished their careers with 65 victories, the most wins for a class since 1971. The Black Knights have had 11 All-Patriot League selections over the last four years, the most in a four-year span in program history. Seniors Tanner Plomb (First Team), Kevin Ferguson (Second Team) andKyle Wilson (Third Team) highlighted Army’s All-Patriot League picks in 2015-16 and Ferguson was also chosen to the inaugural Patriot League All-Defensive Team.
Plomb, Ferguson, Wilson and Dylan Cox became the first four classmates in Patriot League history to all score 1,000 career points. The foursome, along with Larry Toomey, made up the only starting five in the nation consisting entirely of seniors in 2015-16.
“This opportunity means the world to me,” Allen said. “I feel like West Point has been part of my DNA since I was born. I lived here a couple different times growing up and with my father being a graduate of the Academy this is a very special day for me.
“This is not just an opportunity to be a head coach. It is an opportunity to be the head coach at Army West Point,” Allen continued. “To be able to continue to work with the guys who have been part of this program and continue to do the things that have made our program successful is something I am extremely excited about.”
In 2014-15, Allen helped the Black Knights reach 15 victories for the third consecutive year, marking the first time the program recorded three straight 15-win campaigns since Bob Knight’s teams each won at least 15 from 1967-70. Army has won at least 15 games in the past four seasons, which is the best run of 15-win seasons since 1920-24.
Allen also saw Army capture the 2014 All-Military Classic presented by USAA Championship with victories over Air Force and VMI. In addition, the 2014-15 Black Knights defeated USC, 85-77 in overtime, to secure their first win against a Pac-12 team since 1964.
Allen mentored All-Patriot League Second-Team selection Plomb and third-team honoree Wilson in 2014-15. Plomb was second on the team in scoring and rebounding, while Wilson led the conference in points per game.
The program also excelled in the classroom in 2014-15 and posted its highest team grade-point average in 10 years with a 2.84 GPA in the fall semester as seven players were honored with places on the West Point Dean’s List.
Since his addition to the Black Knights’ coaching staff, 16 All-Patriot League honors have been handed out to Army West Point players, including Nathan Hedgecock’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year recognition, a pair for first-team nods for Ella Ellis and Wilson’s Rookie of the Year award in 2013.
Allen joined Spiker’s coaching staff in April 2010 after serving six seasons as the head coach at Averett University in Danville, Va.
His father, James, graduated from West Point in 1967 and later returned as a chemistry instructor. During his father’s tenure as a professor, Allen attended West Point elementary school for three years and James I. O’Neill High School through the 10th grade.
In his six seasons with the Division III Cougars, Allen posted a 97-70 (.581) overall record, guiding the program to three 20-win seasons, three USA South Athletic Conference titles, three USASAC tournament championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
A three-time USA South Coach of the Year (2005, 2007, 2008), Allen inherited a team that was 0-25 the season prior to his arrival and posted a 13-14 overall record in his first year. The next season, the Cougars won 20 games and captured a share of the conference regular-season crown. In 2006-07, Allen’s squad went 20-7, winning both the USASAC regular-season and tournament championships and earning the school’s first NCAA appearance since 1990.
While the team’s overall record slipped to 14-15 in 2007-08, the Cougars made a run in the postseason to capture the league tournament and earn its second straight NCAA berth. The 2008-09 squad returned to the 20-win plateau and not only won a conference regular-season championship and its third straight league tournament crown, but also scored its first NCAA Tournament victory since 1990. Allen’s 2009-10 team went 10-16 overall and advanced to the semifinals of the USASAC postseason.
In addition to the team success, Allen mentored 13 all-conference performers in his six seasons. One of those players, Jonathan Rumley, is the school’s only first-team National Association of Basketball Coaches All-America selection. Allen helped develop Rumley into the schools’ all-time leader in steals per game (2.9). He also finished his career ranked fifth all-time at Averett in scoring (1,186) and fifth in rebounds (511).
There was also no shortage of off-the-court accolades for Allen’s program during his tenure at Averett. The Cougars earned the USA South Athletic Conference Sportsmanship Award three straight times from 2007-09. The team was also honored with the Community Youth Service Award by the Dan River Center for Voluntarism in 2007 and in 2008 received recognition from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Danville. In the classroom, 18 of Allen’s players were named to the conference all-academic team.
Prior to his arrival at Averett, Allen spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach, including eight at the Division I level. Before taking his first head coaching position, Allen worked for two seasons as the associate head coach at Wofford College where the 2002-03 squad won six games against the RPI’s top-ranked non-conference strength of schedule.
Allen got his first taste of coaching at a service academy while spending six years as an assistant at Navy under Don DeVoe from 1996-2002. During his tenure with the Mids, Navy won the Patriot League championship and earned NCAA Tournament berths in 1997 and 1998. Allen helped the Mids to three 20-win seasons in his six years in Annapolis.
Prior to his stint at Navy, Allen began his coaching career at Emory & Henry, his alma mater, working with the Wasps from 1993-96.
A 1993 graduate of Emory & Henry with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Allen played in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments during his undergraduate career. The Wasps won 20 games each of his four seasons and advanced the “Sweet Sixteen” of the NCAA postseason on two occasions.
A four-year starter at point guard, Allen holds the program’s record with 117 consecutive games played and ranks second on the school’s all-time assist ledger. He was inducted into the Emory & Henry Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
A press conference to introduce Allen as Army’s head men’s basketball coach will be held on Wednesday, April 6 at 2 p.m. The press conference will be held inside Nowak Auditorium and will be streamed live on the Patriot League Network.
Photo Courtesy Army Athletics