The game of basketball is nothing new for Head Men's Basketball Coach R.J. Allen. For six years, Allen held the position of assistant men's basketball coach at Newman. The 2017-18 season is Allen's first as head coach. This year has proven great challenges and great successes for Allen and his team.
One of the greatest setbacks this season was losing three full scholarship players to injuries. Most teams would not bounce back from such a loss. Allen and the team pulled together to become the best they could be.
Allen and his team's efforts were acknowledged when Allen received the Heartland Coach of the Year award Feb. 28. This award is given to one deserving coach in the Heartland Conference.
"It was unexpected," Allen said. "There were others as deserving of this award, so receiving it is so humbling."
Athletic Director Vic Trilli celebrates this award with Allen.
"It is an amazing achievement," said Trilli. "Especially as a first-year coach. It is good for the future of Newman."
This award can be achieved multiple times, but that is not what drives Allen. When asked what he will do differently since receiving this award Allen humbly responds with, "Nothing." Allen's plan of action will be the same as it always has been, improving the team day in and day out and putting them in the best situation for the next game.
The outcome for next season is highly unpredictable. One thing for sure is that Allen will be working on improving his team as always, and leading them to be as successful as possible on and off the court.