Banner Assistant Sports Editor
Like the old adage says, “Good things come to those who wait.”
While patiently hoping things would work out for a return to his alma mater, Matt Allen got an offer that was just too good to pass up.
“Polk County is my home. I would’ve loved to have been back there, but they just couldn’t work out a teaching position for me,” explained the former Wildcat standout athlete and assistant coach.
The Polk head baseball coaching job has been open since last summer with retired coaches John Dixon and Frankie Lowery filling in this past season while a permanent teaching position for a coach was being worked out.
Meanwhile Monday, Allen got a call from Lincoln County High School, asking him to come interview for its vacant head coaching position. An hour after the meeting he was called back to the school and offered the job.
“I had put in my resume about three weeks ago and pretty much forgot about it since I hadn’t heard from them, but the AD (athletic director) called me Monday evening and asked if I could be there Tuesday morning for an interview,” Allen related.
“After a 2 1/2-hour, intensive interview, I had driven from Fayetteville to Winchester and was eating lunch with (former Polk County head coach Michael) Carter when my phone rang. It was the AD wanting me to come back over.
“I made the 45-minute drive back to Fayetteville. He told me he felt like he didn’t need to interview anyone else at that point, and offered me the job,” Allen said in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “The last 36 hours have been a big whirlwind.
“To get a chance to coach of a strong AAA program in one of the toughest district and regions in the state for my first head coaching job is unbelievable,” he added.
The Falcons finished third in District 7-AAA for the recently finished season, behind state-powerhouses Tullahoma, which featured Gatorade National Player of the Year Justus Sheffield, and Columbia.
“With the teams in our district, plus having the Murfreesboro district on the other side of the region, there is a lot of strong baseball played over there,” Allen assessed.
Allen will be in the same district as Carter’s Franklin County team, as well as Coffee County, Shelbyville, Lawrence County, plus aforementioned Tullahoma and Columbia Central.
“I’m leaving in the morning (today) for a tournament in Atlanta until Sunday. Carter said I could stay with him until I find a place in Fayetteville, so I’ll move over there Sunday night, then on Monday we (Lincoln County) play his team in summer ball.”
Allen originally learned of the Lincoln County opening from one of the parents from his Tennessee Twisters team.
“I’ve got three guys who started at Lincoln County as sophomores last year on my (Twisters) team and one of the parents said something to me when the job came open,” he related.
Former Falcons head coach Travis Tate accepted a head coaching job in North Alabama.
“Coach Tate is a local guy (from Lincoln County) but got a good offer in Alabama,” Allen remarked. “The top assistant took the head coaching job at Fayetteville’s city high school, a class A team.
“They take their baseball serious over there. They have beautiful facilities,” Allen commented. “They have a good strong core of players coming back, including the three guys who play for the Twisters, two of which are already being recruited, plus an All-District first baseman and a couple of pitchers that throw close to 90 (mph).
“The AD (Jeff Bell) is a retired baseball coach from the Huntsville (Ala.) area. He’s is a member of the Alabama Hall of Fame,” he added. “I couldn’t ask for a better situation to go into. It is a destination place. I can see myself being there a long time.”
After his playing days at Polk County, Allen signed a baseball scholarship with Chattanooga State and later finished up his college education at Tennessee Wesleyan, in Athens.
While working with the Wildcat football team for the past seven years, Allen served as an assistant baseball coach for two years each under former Polk coaches Bill Triplett, who was coaching when Allen played, and Carter.
“Coach(es) Triplett and (Derrick) Davis were my first two calls to thank them for all they’ve done for me,” Allen proclaimed. “I’ve learned a lot from them both. Things I use in my coaching.”
When Carter left Benton last summer to take the Franklin County job, Allen was the leading candidate to take over the Wildcat program, but the details couldn’t be worked out.
Allen instead took an assistant coach position under first-year head coach Matt Ray at McMinn County High School for the recently ended school year.