Marquette Mourns the Passing of Former Distance Coach Jim Allen
Dec. 13, 2014
MILWAUKEE - Former Marquette University head cross country and track and field coach Jim Allen passed away on Saturday afternoon at the age of 77, leaving a lasting legacy with Marquette Athletics.
"Coach Allen's passion and dedication for Marquette and the track and field and cross country teams continues to live on today," head coach Bert Rogers said. "He almost single-handedly rebuilt the men's cross country and track and field programs in the early 1980s, taking a non-scholarship team and building it into a program that produced an individual national champion. He was also instrumental in getting the women's teams off the ground."
Allen, who was inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame in 2009, served as coach for 11 seasons at MU and resurrected the Marquette Track Club after graduating in 1961.
"His legacy will live on through the student-athletes he coached and the countless other lives he touched," Rogers said. "I have been able to visit with him on a number of occasions and always enjoyed listening to the stories of his experiences as an athlete and as a coach. It was easy to tell how much Marquette meant to him. I will miss him."
During his coaching tenure at MU, Allen mentored 11 All-Americans, including 1986 NCAA 10,000-meter run champion Keith Hanson (M Club, Class of 1999) and was one of the driving forces behind the fundraising effort for the Melvin "Bus" Shimek Memorial Track and Field Facility.
Allen helped guide the cross country and track programs through the transition from non-scholarship club sport status back to NCAA Division I programs. Allen was also instrumental in Marquette hosting the 1985 NCAA Cross Country Championships, in which Hanson finished third.
After enrolling at Marquette in 1954, he enlisted in the United States Armed Forces during the Korean War for three years before returning to MU. As a student-athlete, Allen set the school record in the indoor mile, a time which would stand for over 20 years.
The visitation for Allen will be held on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the memorial mass at 11:30 a.m. at St. William Catholic Church (440 N. Moreland Blvd. Waukesha, WI 53188). The Rev. Curt Frederick will officiate. In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to the Wisconsin Parkinson's Assoc. (945 N. 12th St., Milwaukee, WI 53233) or the James M. Allen Endowed Athletic Scholarship Marquette.edu/giveonline.
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