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Franke Allen ’71 inducted into Virginia Sports Hall of Fame

Victoria Zelvin

Frankie Allen, a 1971 graduate of Roanoke College, has just been named to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Allen is widely considered to be one of the most prolific college basketball players in Virginia Intercollegiate Basketball history, whose college career started in 1967 during which he earned the distinction of being the first African-American student-athlete. He led the Maroons to their first NCAA Tournament berth as a freshman in 1968.

During his time at Roanoke, the Maroons compiled an 82 win, 34 loss record. Allen himself averaged 24 points and 15 rebounds per game, as well as an all-time leading scorer (2,780 points) and rebounder (1,758) at any level in Virginia college history, a record which still stands.

After a distinctive Roanoke College career (which included being named two-time honorable mention All-American, three-time Virginia College Player of the Year, and the first team for All-Mason-Dixon, tallying two victories there), Allen went on to coach. He first worked as a high school coach immediately after college, winning a handful of championships.

In 1976 to 1987, he joined his former college coach Roanoke Head Coach Charles Moir when Moir was hired for the head coaching job at Virginia Tech. Allen served as assistant at Virginia Tech, where he helped the team post eight 20-win seasons, four NCAA tournament appearances, and for NIT tournament appearances. Following Moir’s dismissal, Allen succeeded him as head coach until 1991. In 1988, Allen earned Metro Conference, Virginia Sportswriters and National Rookie Coach of the Year awards at Virginia Tech. Overall, during this tenure Allen earned a record of 115 wins, 140 losses.

He then went on to be the head coach at Tennessee State from 1991 to 2000, and then at Howard University from 2000-2005. His coaching record at Howard was 52-83, so in 2005 Howard fired him despite the way that Allen had dramatically improved the program (for example, before his tenure the school only won three games in two seasons), but his progress was nevertheless deemed insufficient by the school and Allen was released.

From there, Allen went on to brief assistant coaching stints at Radford and University of Maryland, Baltimore County, after which he was named head coach of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2008. Currently, his overall record stands at 35 wins, 102 losses.

Allen enters the Hall of Fame with other notable Virginians, a list that includes Bill Roth (Voice of the Hokies), Cornell Brown (Superbowl Campion), and Lawrence Burton (1975 first round NFL draft pick).

The 42nd annual induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center as the headline event of Hall of Fame weekend. Tickets go on sale January 14, 2013. For more information, call (757) 393-8031 or visit www.vshfm.com