April 10, 2008

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - At a press conference today, held in the arena of the William P. Hytche Athletic Center, University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Director of Athletics Keith Davidson named Franklin "Frankie" Allen the new Head Men's Basketball Coach of the Fighting Hawks.

Allen, a former National Coach of the Year in 1993, takes over for Interim Head Coach Meredith Smith whose contract was not renewed when it expired at the end of March.

"This was an important decision for me and I was not going to place this basketball program in the hands of anyone who was not a steady, proven leader," said Director of Athletics Keith Davidson.

Coach Allen, 59, most recently served as a Head Assistant Coach at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). This past season the Retrievers had the best finish in school history with an America East regular season and tournament championship and a 15th seed in the 2008 NCAA National Championship.

"I'm excited about being the next men's basketball coach...We're going to bring that winning team," said Allen after being introduced as the new Fighting Hawks coach.

Prior to Allen's two year stint with UMBC he served for one season at Radford University as an assistant.

It is Allen's experience prior to those two posts however, that earned him the spot with the Hawks. He served as Head Coach at Virginia Tech, Tennessee State and Howard Universities. At fellow Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) school Howard University, Allen inherited a program that was 3-52 its previous two years. He immediately made an impact, winning eight games in conference in 2000-01, 10 overall, and followed it in 2001-02 with 11 MEAC wins and an 18-13 record. That season Allen scored the first winning season for the Bison in 16 years and took them to the MEAC Championship; it was their first trip to the finals in 10 years. He went on to win 52 games in five seasons at Howard.



"We needed someone who knew the MEAC, who was successful in the MEAC, and. who understood the coaches and knew the personnel," said Davidson. "In short, we needed somebody who knew the enemy."

"We also needed a winner. We needed someone who has won championships, who has gone to the NCAA tournament and has experienced the big dance. We needed somebody who had been there before, and could show us the way," said Davidson.

Allen enjoyed many of his accolades while at Tennessee State University. He won three Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Championships with the Tigers, 1993, 1994 and 1995. He went to two NCAA Tournaments in 1993 and 1994 and had five appearances in the OVC Final Four. He was a two-time OVC Coach of the Year, National Coach of the Year from the American Sportswire in 1993 and National Black Coach of the Year the same season. That same year the USA Today named him Honorable Mention National Coach of the Year.

"We need to win now," said Allen. "With me the future is now, we are not going to come out and half-step...we are going to try and give our athletes direction and leadership and we are going to implement a system that is going to make us the best team we could possibly be."

As coach of the Tigers, Allen enjoyed the largest turn-around in the nation from 1992-1994 and improved his teams GPA tremendously.

Prior to Tennessee State Allen was the Head Coach at Virginia Polytechnic University. At Virginia Tech Allen was the Metro Conference Coach of the Year in 1988 as well as the Virginia Sportswriters Coach of the Year. When Allen got the job in the 1987-88 season he earned National Rookie Coach of the Year honors from Basketball Times. During his tenure with the Hokies Allen was a part of a staff that went to four NCAA Tournaments and four National Invitational Tournaments (NIT). He started as an assistant there in 1976 and experienced eight seasons of 20 wins or more. Allen was the first African-American to serve as Head Basketball Coach at Virginia Tech.

Outside of the college coaching ranks Allen has also served as the Head Coach for the South Team in the United State Olympic Festival, taking a bronze medal in the summer of 1995. He has had various community involvement activities over his career including running the Frankie Allen Basketball Camps, teaching at numerous other camps, hosting television and radio shows and serving the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Nashville, Tenn.

He is a 32-year member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), serving on various committees and the NABC Regional Advisory Board. He also is a member of the Black Coaches Association.

Allen has served as a coach at the collegiate level for 32 years, 18 of which was spent as a Head Coach. He has an overall record of 223-284.

Allen also had a standout playing career. He was named a High School All-American in 1967 at Lane High School. From there he set 18 individual records at Roanoke College, including finishing with 2,780 career points and 1,758 rebounds, both records in the state of Virginia. He was a three-time State of Virginia College Basketball Player of the Year and was an All-American in 1970 and 1971.

Coach Allen is married to Cynthia Rogers and has three daughters, Alexis Pate and Talhia and Ashley Allen. He was the first African-American resident student at Roanoke College where he graduated with a Batchelor of Arts in Philosophy in 1971. He obtained a Master of Science in Education from Virginia Tech in 2000.

Allen will begin his duties immediately and make announcements soon about his staff and recruits.

"There is an opportunity here like none other," said Allen. "I know the program has been down and I told the players we are not going to look in the past, we are just going to build into the future. It was just the right time, it was the right fit."

Press Conference Quotes: President Dr. Thelma B. Thompson, Director of Athletics Keith Davidson, and Head Coach Frankie Allen Get Acrobat Reader

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