First things first. Let me begin this article with my personal thank you to Coach Curt Allen; who coached my son while he attended North Port High School. "Thank you coach for teaching Kasey the value of a team, hard work, and the pursuit of ones dream. My son is a better person thanks to you."
Coach Allen took the head coaching job of the Bobcats 6 years ago. He brought with him a reume of prior coaching experience where he was head coach of North Montgomery High School which he led to a district championship. As an assistant coach at Walbash College for 6 years, he was insturmental in guiding Walbash to the NCAA Division III Tournament. An educator himself, coach Allen graduated Magna Cum Laude from MacMurray College in Jacksonville IL., where he was a 3 year letterman and was twice named Academic Athlete of the year. Coach Allen went on to Purdue University where he received his Teaching Certificate.
While at North Port High School coach Allen notched an impressive overall record of 114-47, and his teams posted a 35-11 record against district opponents. Coach Allen loves competition and has led his Bobcats in battle with some of the countries elite high school basketball programs. Facing teams in the Tampa/McDonalds Tournament such as St Thomas Aquinas, St Mary's from Maryland and Thomas Jefferson, a powerhouse from New York City. Coach Allen and his Bobcats have twice appeared in the City of Palms Tournament most recently in 2010 when the Cats faced off against at the time the #4 nationally ranked Bishop Gorman High School out of Las Vegas Nevada. Bishop Gorman's feature player was the #1 ESPN ranked player in the country Shabazz Muhammed. Shabazz currently plays for the UCLA Bruins.
The advantages of having coaches such as coach Allen leading the helm of high school programs are numerous. Character teachings, community involvement, player disipline, and financial rewards for families of athletes in the form of college scholarships are to name a few. A list of players that coach Allen helped get into college are as follows.
Class of 2005- Antonio Gibson, St Leo College. Kyle Roland, St Leo College.
Class of 2008- Geoffry Gilot, Goshen College. Joe Lopez, Johnson & Wales University
Class of 2009- Jason Forges, State College of Florida. Shaun Noriega, USF
Class of 2010- Darnel Antoine, Bob Jones University
Class of 2011- Daunte Johnson, State College of Florida. Kasey Wilson, UCF.
Class of 2012- Larry Taylor, Liberty University. Joe Wilbur, Pfeiffer University
These families and players are reaping the benefit of full and/or partial athletic scholarships from the basketball program headed by coach Allen. To put this in monetary terms, the UCF athletic Scholarship for Kasey Wilson is valued at close to $130,000.
Coach Allen will not take credit for getting these athletes scholarships. He says that the players worked year round on their game, and their parents supported them in getting them to practice, placing them on AAU teams, and, showcases. While this is true let me ask you coach Allen: Who called those AAU teams about placement? Who taught the value of hard work to the players? Who taught them how to handle winning as well as losing? Who reminded them of their dream to play college basketball and the requirements to reach that dream? Who taught them how to react to the sporting news articles both positive and negative? Who prepared the players for college practice and the intensity of those practices? Who was totally honest when players and parents asked if they could play college basketball? You did coach.
Being a part of the North Port basketball program as a parent of a player, spectator, and booster, I have seen what a high school basketball coach is subject to. A high school basketball coach coaches for the love of the game, not the money. The salary is minimal at best. He or she coaches to reach and touch individuals using a game that they love to accomplish goals. These goals differ from coach to coach. But the reward is far more valuable than money. I have been privy to what goes on. A high school coach is more than a coach. They are teachers. They are givers of time. They are counsellors. They are fund raisers. And they are targets for parents, fans, faculty, students to hurl negativity, obscenities, and name calling both behind backs and social media.
North Port High School will have a new basketball coach. I am familiar with him and he too has been very insturmental in the shaping of my son as a player and a person. I also say 'Thank you coach Slanger." You have my support and I hope the support of all North Port players, parents, faculty, and community. GO BOBCATS!