The following is an excerpt from: Ricky Allen Built Girls’ Basketball at Brewer with a Solid Foundation by Bill Plott, AHSAA Historian. To read the complete article, please click here.
When most people might while away slow time doodling, Ricky Allen found himself drawing house plans. He once mused that perhaps he should have been an architect.
Some say he was an architect in the way he built the girls’ basketball program at Albert Brewer High School in Morgan County. Over a 30-year career he constructed a program that produced more than 600 wins, a state championship – and an enthusiasm amongst his students that has created a passion for the sport at all levels of the community.
A native of Hartselle, Allen, who is being inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2018 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center March 19, was in the first group of seniors at Brewer in 1973. He played on the school’s first basketball team, a squad that made it to the state tournament.
After graduation he went to Auburn University, first studying business, then education as he realized that teaching and coaching would be his calling. With a degree in hand, he returned to his alma mater as assistant football and boys’ basketball coach.
From 1978-81 he was girls’ basketball coach at Cotaco Junior High, compiling a record of 53-9. Then he spent two years at Union Hill Junior High, coaching the boys to a 23-11 record. Returning to Brewer in 1982, he coached JV basketball as well as volleyball and softball, leading the school to its first county championship in both sports. In 1985, he took over varsity girls’ basketball. Over the next 30 years it became one of the top programs in the state. Among the accomplishments:
- A record of 604-272
- One 5A state championship and one runner-up finish
- Five Region championships, 15 Area championships and 17 Morgan County Championships
- Nine All-State players and the 2012 5A state Coach-of-the-Year award.
Allen built the Brewer program by attracting elementary school girls to his basketball camps. He would go to their junior high games, watching the teams that fed into the high school and always standing under the goal rather than favoring one side or the other.
“I was like all the girls that played basketball at the feeder schools,” recalled Christy Thomaskutty, who went on to become a four-time All-State player. “We all wanted to be good enough to play at Brewer for Ricky Allen.”
Thomaskutty went on to play at Tulane, graduating magna cum laude in management. She is currently in her 14th year of coaching at NCAA Division II Emory University in Atlanta.
Mark Edwards, sports editor at The Anniston Star, covered Brewer High School when he was at The Decatur Daily earlier. He wrote that what he was most impressed with in Ricky Allen was not the wins and losses but the coach’s character.
“He began coaching Brewer girls’ sports in the early 1980s when it wasn’t necessarily considered cool to coach girl sports,” Edwards said. “In North Alabama he helped make it cool. He never let a single one of his players think for an instant that their team and their games were any less important than the boys’ teams and games.
“He worked his players hard, but he treated them fairly. At a time when it seemed as if so many male coaches screamed theirs heads off at their players, Coach Allen did the opposite. I noticed he almost never yelled during games. When he did, it was because he needed to be heard over the noise of the large crowds that came to see his teams play. He managed with a caring, firm hand – not insults and derision.”
Morgan County has always been a basketball hotbed. Allen retired as No. 4 on the list of winningest coaches. He is a member of the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame.
Coach Ricky Allen is one of 11 inductees to the Alabama High School Hall of Fame, Class of 2018. For a complete list of other 2018 inductees, please click here.
Encore Rehabilitation is proud to provide Sports Medicine Coverage for the Brewer High School Patriots and the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
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