Legendary East Texas coach Carl Allen, who built Sabine High School into a state basketball powerhouse, has passed away.
He was 70. Coach Allen died on Sunday in Shreveport, La.
He led Sabine to back-to-back state championships in 1980-81. His son Mark, who is the Mabank High School basketball coach, was an all-state guard on those clubs. His grandson, Jordan, plays for Mabank and is an All-East Texas and all-state player.
During his career, he won 714 games with just 189 losses. He led the Cardinals to 12 district championship, 14 playoff appearances and four state tournaments.
In 1980-81, his Cardinals were 34-0. He was All-East Texas Coach of the Year four times and Texas Coach of the Year in 1981-82.
His Sabine squad won 69 straight district games and also set an East Texas record with 54 straight wins.
Coach Allen was a standout at Bloomburg High School where he was salutatorian of his 1959 graduating class. He then earned a basketball scholarship to Texarkana College where he scored 43 points in one game and was a junior college All-American in 1960.
He then received a basketball scholarship to East Texas Baptist University. He also earned a master’s degree from The University of Texas at Tyler, where part of his thesis was on basketball free throw shooting.
After college, he coached his first five years at Waskom High School leading the girls to five district championships and the boys to four league titles. Then he moved to Sabine High School in Liberty City where he taught and coached for 27 years until retiring in 1994.
During his coaching tenure he once said his philosophy was, “I believe winning is important, but I try to teach my players respect, sportsmanship, fair play, honesty and self-discipline.
“I believe, most of all, that athletes should be good, upstanding Christian young men. I try to set a good example by the way I live in front of them and the way I act at all times. I have found that if you are fair with young men, they will give 100 percent for the team. Several former ball players come to me for advice. To see and help students become successful in life is one of the greatest rewards I have received in coaching and teaching.”
After retiring, he continued to help Mark coach at Mabank. He also assisted Mark in his pro bass fishing career.
He and his wife moved to Caddo Lake after retiring and he established Allen’s Tour & Guide Service. He was a member of Gray Baptist Church and the Caddo Lake Historical Society.
Coach Allen is survived by his wife Alice; two children, Mark and Carolyn; and grandchildren Jordan, Makenna and Jaret.
Visitation is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today at Hanner’s Funeral Home in Atlanta. The funeral is 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Bloomburg. Burial will be at Salem Cemetery in Bloomburg.
In lieu of flowers, Coach Allen requested donations be made to the Gray Baptist Church Building Fund, 150 FM 727, Jefferson, 75657.