The great Babe Ruth was once quoted saying, “Love the game of baseball and baseball will love you.” For the last thirty three years the game of baseball has been a passion and priority for Head Coach Eric Allen.  In the next month or so Allen will transition into a completely different phase in his life as he exits from baseball.

Allen grew up with a ball, bat and glove in hand.  He played for LaRue Co. High School varsity team his 8th-12th grade years.  He would play travel ball during the long, hot summers.  After High School he would play two years John A. Logan College in Illinois where he played in 2002 JUCO World Series.

His baseball journey would continue when he played in the Independent Frontier League for the Southern Illinois Miners.  Allen recalls, “I went to a tryout and signed a contract right after it.  A couple of weeks later I reported to spring training.  On the last day of spring training I got traded to the San Angelo Colts in the United League.  At the all-star break I got traded again to the Edinburg Coyotes in the same league.  After the season I got traded back to Southern Illinois.  I was released shortly after the start of the next season so I decided I’d try to get into coaching.  I coached two years as a volunteer assistant at John Logan before moving home.”

When Allen moved home he would coach two years as an assistant at John Hardin while finishing school and giving lessons at The Player’s Dugout.  Allen would attain a teaching job at LCHS, and assisted Coach Price for the Hawks varsity team.  After two seasons as an assistant Coach Price resigned Allen would take over as the head skipper.

Allen credits several people in his life for influencing him.  “I have played for and worked for many coaches throughout my career and they’ve all influenced me in some form or fashion.  I learned so much from all of my high school coaches in both baseball and football.  Coach Armes taught us how to get ready to play.  He was an unbelievable motivator.  Coach Hughes taught us so much about the game of baseball and had such a passion for it.  I still think about his message of “learn it, live it, love it” all of the time.”

“My college coach, Jerry Halstead is a NJCAA Hall of Famer with over 1300 career wins.  He was really hard to play for at first and I almost quit once because it was so hard.  But it was the best situation I could’ve been in.  He was exactly what I needed because he taught me so much about work and that I was capable of so much more than I believed.  I still talk to him regularly and ask him for advice all of the time.  He is a great friend.”

Allen continues, “My manager in San Angelo was Doc Edwards who was the Cleveland Indians manager in the late 80’s.  He also played on the same Yankees teams as Maris and Mantle.  The best part about playing for him were the stories.  He loved to tell stories about those old Yankee teams.”

Allen is quick to give credit to coaches he has worked with here at LCHS.  “Chris Price, Adam Lindsey, John Seymour, and Greg Mayfield have all been such an influence on me.  They all are baseball men and work extremely hard in doing their part in putting the best product possible on the field.  They have all showed belief in me through the years and I owe all of them a debt of gratitude.”

Allen is very thankful for the opportunity given.  “The last six years it has been an honor to lead the baseball program that means so much to me and my family.  We have worked hard and won a lot of ballgames (113).  Most importantly though we’ve built relationships that will last forever.  Coaching in my hometown is sometimes a challenge but it’s really rewarding as well.  I’ve worn a lot of uniforms through the years but the one that reads HAWKS gives me the most pride.  I love this program!”

Allen is uncertain about the next phase of his life, but is ready for the challenge.  “I’m not really sure what the next chapter of my life will be like.  Since I’ve became a husband and dad I’ve never not had a field to take care of, or fundraisers to prepare for, or practice or all of the other things that goes along with coaching baseball.  I do know I’m going to spend a lot more time with my family.  I also have a list about a mile long of things that need to be done at home.  Next spring I plan to watch my former players that are playing college baseball now.  That’s something that I’ve been trying to do for the last couple of years I just haven’t been able to get away due to our seasons corresponding.  I’m also taking classes for my Rank 1.  I hope that one day I will become a school administrator.”

“I’ve thought about what it’s going to be like to not be around the game.  It’s definitely going to be different.  I’ll always love the game.  I’m really looking forward to dedicating the time I’ve spent with baseball to helping my kids grow in their interests.  Also, Jenny and I are just looking forward to having a somewhat normal routine compared to the chaos that goes along with baseball from February to June.”

“There are multiple reasons why I have decided to resign at the end of this season.  First and foremost I just feel like with where I’m at in my life right now, it’s time.  My life has changed tremendously in the years since I began coaching and I’ve reached a point that my priorities are not what they used to be.  Jenny and the kids have been so great and nothing but supportive of our teams throughout the years.  Now I feel like the time is right to step away and support them in their interests and dreams.  I’m also focusing on continuing my education by getting my Rank 1 and growing as a teacher.  Really looking forward to being able to devote more time and energy to my students.”

Allen concludes by saying, “being the head baseball coach at LaRue County High School has been such a privilege and an amazing ride.  There are so many players, parents, coaches, bus drivers, concession stand workers, administrators, teachers, etc. that have helped me through the years.  I can’t say thank you enough to all of them.”

I recently contacted a few of Coach Allen’s former players and allowed them to speak on the impact of Coach Allen over the years.

DYLON HEDGESEPTEH (CLASS OF 2014) – One of my favorite memories of Coach Allen is the day he told me to quit slowing up on sprints. I passed out after them and got a concussion from hitting the floor. He came to the hospital and apologized.  He would always emphasize to the team to “leave it all on the field.”  A true Coach is one who becomes a friend.  Four years removed from the program, my coach came to me through one of the hardest times in my life when I lost my dad. That meant a lot to me. The thing I liked most about Coach Allen was his competitiveness.  Without being around coach and his competitive nature I wouldn’t have been prepared to compete at the college level and be successful.

KOY LINDSEY (CLASS OF 2015) – Having played for Coach Allen for 3 years during my high school career, I had known him several years prior. I learned that his form of communication to instruct me as a player, and manage the entire team greatly helped me continue my career as a college athlete.

Coach Allen meant the world to me. He saw me grow up and mature into the man I am today. I believe that helped him understand the best way to help me reach my goals.

Coach Allen was always eager to learn, and share knowledge. He came to many catching camps I was at. He would take advice just as much as he gave it. We had great laughs, and occasional brow beatings. He was a personable, and approachable coach.

JOHN SELMAN (CLASS OF 2016) – A memory I have with Coach Allen is that we shared his first district championship win together. My junior year and his third year we both finally won what we had been working so hard for.

One of the things I learned from him is that school comes before Baseball in life. He coached us to make good decisions in life. I saw what he did for some of my teammates to help better them for their lives.

He meant a lot to me as a coach because I know he came into a challenging situation. His first year was my freshman year. He knew coming in the challenge at task and he accepted it. He saw potential in my group and coached us to the best we could be and by time I was a senior we were competing for a region.

The thing I liked most about him was his competitiveness. Without being around coach and his competitive nature I wouldn’t have been prepared to compete at the college level and be successful.

CAMERON DAWSON (CLASS OF 2017) – Playing for Coach Allen was by far the most fun I have ever had in sports. Not only did I have fun coach Allen taught me the game of baseball and how to play it the correct way and how to be a bull dog on the mound.

I most learned from Coach Allen that every day at the plate won’t be your best day but defense can never have an off day. I took that to heart and tried to make every day at the plate a great day and tried to impress him as much as possible

Coach Allen meant more to me personally because I looked up to him. I was aware of all of his records and wanted to break all of them. Coach Allen was one of the best players to ever come through LaRue County and I wanted to be just as good or better. He pushed and encourage me to be better.

What I like most about coach Allen that he was not only a terrific coach he was great with the players. He knew each and every player strengths and weaknesses. Coach Allen wanted to win and that was it.  Coach Allen will always have a special place in my heart.  I wish him only the best with the next phase of his life.