Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Highland Park’s Randy Allen close to full strength after November wreck
Sitting in an emergency room on the day after Thanksgiving, Randy Allen thought back to some of the injuries he had seen in his 32 years as a football coach. He remembered the times he watched players get dislocated shoulders, elbows and other body parts popped back into place.
“Man, I bet that hurts,” Allen thought.
The Highland Park coach’s next thought, as he sat on an exam table in a hospital in Waco:
“What I saw happen to those players is fixin’ to happen to me.”
Unfortunately, he was right. A car accident had left Allen with a right ankle that was dislocated and broken in three places, and because the dislocation was cutting the blood flow to his toes, it needed to be reset immediately.
So now Allen has confirmation of just how much it hurts. But five months later, with a plate and nine screws in his right ankle, the 62-year-old coach feels pretty good at spring practice. He said he feels “about 90 percent” as he prepares for his 14th season with the Scots, although he can’t run through drills the way he likes.
“I go through the steps of a demonstration,” Allen said, “but I just walk through it or limp through it.”
Allen should recover fully, and the accident could’ve been much worse.
It happened on the final night of Highland Park’s season, when the coach was still absorbing a 42-39 loss to Tyler John Tyler in the Class 4A Division I Region II semifinal. Allen was in a car with his wife and daughter, following the team buses home from Waco. Allen was in the front passenger seat, eating one of the boxed dinners provided to the team, when a car smashed into the back of his.
The collision pushed Allen’s car into the back of one of the buses. Allen’s wife and daughter were not injured seriously, but Allen suffered the ankle injury as well as two broken vertebrae.
Allen didn’t need back surgery, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that Allen’s ankle stopped swelling after exercising. He’s now building strength in the ankle by climbing the stairs at Highlander Stadium, a place where he’s become very comfortable since taking over at HP in 1999.
Allen said it’s the only place he wants to coach now. And Allen, who has a career record of 305-76-6 in stops at Abilene Cooper, Brownwood, Ballinger and Highland Park, wants to keep coaching.
It’s what Allen, who played tailback at Abilene Cooper and SMU before starting a coaching career, knows best.
“He’s still going strong, even after the accident,” said Frisco Centennial coach Mark Howard, who was an assistant on Allen’s Brownwood staffs in 1987 and ’88. “He’s got a lot of energy left. It wouldn’t surprise me if he coached several more years.”
Allen, whose 153-17 record at Highland Park includes a 4A state title in 2005, doesn’t know when he’ll retire. And he sees no reason for it to be soon.
“There’s nothing I could do to have more impact on young people than coaching,” he said, “and there’s nowhere I would rather coach than at Highland Park.”
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Here are some of Randy Allen’s former assistant coaches who became head coaches at Dallas-area schools: