Wallace State Community College has announced the return of Allen Sharpe as head men’s basketball coach.
Sharpe previously served as head coach of the Lions from 2005 to 2010, leading the program to its first conference title in 2010. During that time he posted an astounding record of 136-30, an average of 27.2 wins per season. He went 120-15 during his last four seasons at the college, an 89 percent winning percentage, and earned a No. 1 NJCAA poll ranking in 2008 after a 30-0 start.
“We are delighted to welcome Coach Sharpe back to campus. He’s a coach with a great reputation, high standards for his players on and off the court and in the classroom, and he knows how to win. His university experience will serve us well,” said Wallace State President Vicki Karolewics.
Sharpe left Wallace State for a head coaching position at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. In four years with the Boll Weevils, his record was 70-42. He coached the Great American Conference’s Player of the Year and leading scorer two of his last three years there. He became the only coach in university history to have four straight winning seasons and achieved the institution’s eighth 20-win season.
Coming back to Wallace State feels like a homecoming.
“Wallace State is a special place,” Sharpe said. “We had some great teams and a lot of success. Two of our three kids were born in Cullman. It’s a familiar place to us, and it does feel as though we’re coming home.”
In fact, his move was influenced by the desire to move closer to family, and because of the leadership of Wallace State’s president, Dr. Vicki Karolewics.
“Like any organization, culture starts at the top – she’s the reason this place is so special. Her being there has a lot to do with our coming back,” he said. “In the coaching business it’s not very often that you have the opportunity to go back somewhere you were before. It’s humbling and a complement to me and my family that Dr. Karolewics would want us to come back, and we are elated.”
Sharpe will waste no time planning for the upcoming season. He will be immediately contacting returning players and recruiting new ones.
“Anytime there is a new coach, unfortunately you sometimes lose a player along the way. We will see what we have and what we need. We know we still have a spot or two available for recruiting,” he said. His goal is to pick up where he left off, right away. “We want to compete for conference championships.”
“Moving is hard, but our transition to Wallace State is easier than most because we’ve been there before,” he said.
This year brings an added level of challenge with the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. For the moment, athletics are expected to proceed as scheduled this fall.
Before his return to Wallace State, Sharpe became head coach at the University of West Alabama, a move that brought him closer to home in 2014. In his first season at West Alabama, Sharpe led the program to a single-season record of 22 wins, breaking a record that had been in place since 1971, and earned the Tigers their first-ever consecutive bid to the NCAA Division II tournament. He broke his own record in 2019 with 23 wins and 8 losses. He ended his tenure there with a six-year record of 108-71. He was named Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year in 2019.
Sharpe began his coaching career as assistant coach at Piedmont College in Georgia. Prior to his earlier tenure at Wallace State, he was head coach at Truett-McConnell College, also in Georgia, where he went 70-25 in three years.
Sharpe played collegiate basketball at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., where he scored 1,431 career points under Coach Don Meyer, the winningest coach in the nation during the 90s.
He earned his Bachelor of Science from Lipscomb in 2000 and a Master of Arts from Piedmont College in 2002.
Sharpe and his wife, Susan, who also played basketball at Lipscomb, are parents to Garrison, Ally and Anderson.