Former Holy Cross Football Coach Dan Allen Passes Away
Courtesy of The Boston Herald
May 17, 2004
By John Connolly
Boston Herald Sports
Monday, May 17, 2004
There was always the unmistakable twinkle in the eyes that let you know immediately the type of competitive nature that Dan Allen possessed.
After all, what other college football coach could lay claim to having beaten legendary football powerhouse Army while coaching at two different schools as Allen did with Boston University and Holy Cross.
That's why the news of Allen's death yesterday at the age of 48, after battling complications of multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome for most of the past two years, came as such a shock to the Holy Cross community and the college football community in general.
``He was the reason why I came to Holy Cross,创 said Arlington native Dave Puloka, who was a tri-captain on the 2000 Holy Cross squad that finished 7-4 under Allen. ``He was like a second father to me. I磎 sure I磎 not the only one who felt that way.
``He was the type of guy that if he was going to go down he磀 go with a fight. From what I had been hearing prior to this he was doing worse, but you always believed he磀 pull through this somehow.
``It still hasn磘 sunk in. It磗 really tragic. It磗 so sad. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this point.创
Boston College assistant football coach Billy McGovern was an All-America safety while playing for Allen at Holy Cross and ended his career as the NCAA Division 1-AA all-time leader in interceptions.
``It磗 a real loss,创 said McGovern from New Jersey, where he was on a recruiting trip for the Eagles. ``Dan was always so positive in every way. He always thought that he磀 beat this from day one.创
Allen, an honorable mention All-America linebacker at Hanover (Indiana) College, was a longtime assistant at Holy Cross during the 1980s when the Crusaders were a dominant force on the Division 1-AA scene.
A native of Cincinnati, Allen left HC to become head coach at Boston University in 1990, guiding the Terriers to back-to-back NCAA playoff appearances in 1993-94 behind the prodigious quarterbacking talents of Robert Dougherty.
A highlight was the 1993 season when BU went 11-0 during the regular season (12-1 overall), beating Kurt Warner and Northern Iowa in a thrilling game at Nickerson Field in the first round of the playoffs before falling to host Idaho in the next round. Allen was named both New England and national coach of the year that season.
Allen returned to Holy Cross in 1995. He managed a 26-63 mark in eight seasons and was named New England Coach of the Year in 2000 after the Crusaders finished 7-4.
Another highlight was the Crusaders' stunning 30-21 upset of Army at Michie Stadium to kick off the 2002 season.
``He was able to put a lot of the pieces of the puzzle together,创 said Leo Fanning, Allen磗 right-hand man at Holy Cross and longtime defensive coordinator. ``And the underlying piece was him. He was a great person and his values permeated out to his kids.
``He epitomized the word courage.创
Allen was forced to take a month's leave from the sidelines beginning on Oct. 7 of the 2002 season but continued to watch game film and prepare game plans. He returned to his post for the final four games and coached last season while using a wheelchair for greater mobility. Allen always remained upbeat, always looking ahead to the next game.
br>``We have a ways to go, but that磗 what preseason is all about,创 Allen said prior to last season.
Funeral arrangements were not complete as of last night.
Allen, who resided in Westboro, is survived by his wife, Laura, sons, Mark and Taylor, and a daughter, Danielle.
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