Thursday, September 29, 2011
When the Baker University volleyball team records its next win, it will not just be any ordinary victory.
The Wildcats’ next win will be the 300th career victory for head coach Kathy Allen.
Although Allen is excited about the upcoming milestone, she still finds some humor in it as well.
“Well it definitely shows that I’ve been coaching for a long time,” Allen said. “It’s a milestone for any coach. It’s a big one.”
Allen arrived at Baker in 1998 and has developed Wildcats volleyball into one of the best programs in the Heart of America Athletic Conference and the NAIA.
Allen has also had the opportunity to coach her daughter, Baker alumna Kelsey Allen, and niece, senior Brooke Allen, over the past four seasons.
Both Kelsey and Brooke attested the 299 wins Kathy has accumulated have been earned through hard work.
“I think she has really taken (the program) into a new direction,” Kelsey said. “As far as I know, (the program) wasn’t the greatest before she was (at Baker.) Since she’s been there, she has had a winning record every season, and I think the girls, especially me, really enjoyed playing for her and couldn’t have a better coach.”
Brooke has become one of the top liberos in the conference in her four years at Baker and has also noticed the team’s improvement since Kathy started coaching.
“She has impacted the program greatly,” Brooke said. “She has a way of putting the best team out on the court that meshes the best together.”
Despite the circumstances, Allen has kept the team focused on each game, and doesn’t think the team feels pressured to win for her.
“You know, in all honesty, I’m not even sure the team realizes that is on my mind,” Allen said. “That is more of a personal milestone than it is for the team, and I’ve definitely downplayed it. We’re just taking it one game at a time, and when it comes, it comes.”
After defeating Central Methodist University Tuesday for Allen’s 299th win, the Wildcats will take on Graceland University at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Collins Center with an undefeated conference record and Allen’s 300th win on the line.
While Allen is excited about the upcoming milestone, her favorite memory about Baker occurred before she even coached a game for the Wildcats.
“When I came in and did the whole entire interview process and spent the whole day on campus interviewing, I kept thinking to myself, ‘Is this for real?’” Kathy said. “‘Are these people that nice?’ What I have found out over the years is that they really are. I wouldn’t trade my experience at Baker for the last 15 years for any amount of money in the world. It has just been a great ride so far.”