Daily Egyptian

Alabama’s Allen to lead Saluki Volleyball team, Thompson contract terminated

By Tamar Mosby, Sports Reporter

Ed Allen, former University of Alabama head volleyball coach, will take over SIU’s team after former Saluki head coach Kari Thompson’s contract was terminated.

“Coaching is a difficult profession and sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, but you have to move programs forward,” Kill said. “I think we moved our program more than forward.”

This past season proved to be a tough one for SIU Volleyball as they went 5-26 on the season and 1-17 in MVC play.

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Prior to coming to Carbondale, Allen was the head coach for the University of Alabama volleyball team where he totaled a 152-101 record and took his team to two back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament, during his eight year tenure.

Kill noted Allen’s winning tradition and feels that he is a great addition to the Saluki Athletics family.

“Coach Allen is a tremendous hire for us,” Kill said. “His resume speaks for itself – he has a great track record of building a winner at every place he’s been.”

The idea of helping to build a new program excites Allen and he is confident that he can help turn Saluki Volleyball around.

“Building is something I take a lot of enjoyment in,” Allen said. “I’ve had the opportunity to take over four programs that needed that, and it excites me probably as much as anything.”

Coach Allen has experience turning programs around after doing so with the Crimson Tide.

When he arrived at Alabama, the team hadn’t had a winning season in seven years – but after leaving, Allen had coached the team into a winning records, only losing one season, and two of the team’s five NCAA Tournament appearances.

“At Alabama, they’ve had five NCAA appearances, and he’s had two of them,” Kill said. “He’s had a ton of success and he’s perfect for what we need for our program right now.”

Prior to Alabama, Allen began his first Division I coaching job at the University of Tulse where he found much success in the program.

He coached five seasons at Tulsa, where he put up an overall record of 133-37.  During that time he became the fastest coach to reach 100 wins in school history.

Allen also led the Golden Hurricanes to a 20-0 conference record in 2010, two NCAA Tournament appearances and won the conference’s Coach of the Year Award twice.

During his time at Tulsa, Allen worked with the now Saluki Senior Woman Administrator, Liz Jarnigan when she was an Associate AD for the Golden Hurricanes.

Jarnigan stated how excited she was to be working with Allen again and commended his coaching style.

“I’m thrilled to work with Ed again,” Jarnigan said. “His high standards in the classroom and on the court, as well as his work ethic, make him a great fit for our athletic department as we grow our championship culture.”

Allen indeed comes with a culture of winning as he’s had 26 winning seasons in his 27 years as a head coach.

The new head coach is not only looking to coach the Dawgs to a winning season, he’s also looking to win championships in the process.

“The Missouri Valley Conference has great history and an excellent national reputation, and I look forward to building a program that can compete for conference championships,” Allen said.

Jarnigan is putting her confidence in Allen’s reputation and record in hopes that he is able to turn the SIU Volleyball team around.

“His record speaks for itself, for sure.” Jarnigan said. “I’ve been able to see first-hand how he can turn programs around and make them winners in a hurry.”

As for strategy in turning the team around, Allen plans to be as supportive as he can to better the players and by trying to be the best coach he can be everyday.

“I think how can I be the best coach to those players,” Allen said. “The ability to support them and create a structure that allows them to be successful is important.”

He also plans to recruit players that are dedicated to excellence and that are responsible.

“I look for people who have had some degree of responsibility to a certain point,” Allen said. “Try to find kids that are committed to excellence on the court and in the classroom.”

Jarnigan feels that these standards and values are what make Allen a great coach.

“He is one of the best coaches I’ve ever worked with,” Jarnigan said. “I’m just in awe, and respect him so much for the standards and values he embodies and instills in the programs that he leads.”

While coaching Saluki Volleyball, Allen plans to emphasize extreme effort and great defense.

“You’re going to see an effort level that’s going to have kids playing until the official blows a whistle,” Allen said. “I’d also like to think we’re a good defensive team at every stop I’ve been in.”

One of the things Allen said that attracted him to the Southern coaching job was the ability to recruit from closer areas.

“At SIU we have an opportunity to recruit not only very good talent within our state, but you can recruit every state that touches this state,” Allen said.

Allen is settling in well to Carbondale and said that he loves the Midwest.

“The opportunity to get back into the Midwest is something that excites me a great deal,” Allen said. “I love to fish and I love to spend time on lakes, and there are a couple of those things around here.”

Sports reporter Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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