Meet Darren Allman, Carroll ISD's New Athletic Director
May 12, 2015 04:54PM ● Published by Kevin
Darren Allman was hired as the athletic director at Carroll ISD in May 2015. Photo courtesy of MySouthlakeNews.com
After spending the last 10 years as a head coach in Texas, Darren Allman has earned himself the title of new athletic director at Carroll ISD, replacing Kevin Ozee, who left in November to take the Arlington ISD job.
Allman served as athletic director at Austin Westlake from 2009-14, and was the head football coach, as well. He also held those titles at Colleyville Heritage this year.
"Westlake finished in the top five of the Class 5A Lone Star Cup standings and finished second twice during his tenure. He also led Westlake to the Class 5A Division I state finalist finish in 2009," according to an article on MySouthlakeNews.com.
Allman went to Odessa Permian, graduating in 1987. He played defensive back there and returned in 2005 to be the head coach. He is excited for this latest step in his career.
We had a chance to sit down and chat with Allman to talk about his career, accomplishments and goals in a Q&A.
Southlake Style: What brought you to Carroll?
Darren Allman: The lure is obvious. I think it's the best athletic program in the state and probably one of the top in the country. My life has been a lot about athletics, especially my career. I’ve been involved in athletics from childhood and throughout high school and college. I got into the coaching profession 21 years ago and have had a blessed career. I’ve been lucky to be in some great places. I really think all of those experiences have prepared me for a job like this in a place like this.
I knew that being an athletic director was what I wanted to do next in my career. I’ve been a head coach for 10 years. I’ve been an athletic director 5 of those 10 years at Austin Westlake. I’ve enjoyed both aspects of the job and I think it would be unrealistic to say that I don’t miss coaching. All coaches who do it for an extended period of time miss it when they get out. At some point, whether through retirement or through a change in the job description, we’re all going to quit coaching. I’ve still got a lot of competitiveness in me and a lot of energy, so it was a good time for me to do this. I’m honored to come be in a district like this and try to add to the talented staff that’s already here.
SS: What do you bring to Carroll?
Allman: I like people. I’ve got a lot of respect for people in the education business, all the way from administrators to the teachers at all levels, and coaches in particular. I still love being around kids. Southlake is unique to every place I’ve ever been and they’ve all been unique themselves. There will be things I learn and I’ll grow as time goes on. I do think leading coaches and being a part of a team, which we do in administration, I think is one of my strong suits. I think the organization of athletic programs; I’ve learned a lot about that in the great places I’ve been and [from] the great people I’ve been around.
I’m also a good learner. I’m also a good student. I plan on getting a lot of great experience here early. Fortunately, I’m able to get in here before the school year is over with and become familiar with the coaches and surroundings and things that need to get done. I look forward to jumping in and getting to work and getting everything ready for a great start to next year.
SS: You have 21 years of experience in public education. What are a few of your career highlights?
Allman: Being the athletic director at Westlake was certainly a big deal for me with a lot of responsibility, and those five years were very special to me because I was also the head football coach. I had to wear a lot of hats and at the same time, we had a lot of success in all of our sports there and were able to have success in football as well. That’s a testament to the staff – not so much to me - the people I was surrounded with.
One of the things I’m most proud of is the fact that over the 10 years of my head coaching career, there have been seven guys on my football staffs over the years to leave for a head coaching job. They are jobs that I feel like I’ve been a part of in preparation and getting them ready to go lead their own program. I take great pride in that.
Before going to Westlake, I went back to Permian as the head football coach. I graduated there and was a player there in the late (19)80s. I was the first former player to go back as a head coach. It was my first head coaching job. When I got to Permian, they were falling on hard times. Me and a bunch of really good coaches that I hired were able to turn it around. Bringing them back to their winning ways and bringing excitement back to Friday nights in Odessa, it was special; especially to do it as a hometown guy doing it at his own alma mater. It was special for me and my family and the other families there as well.
SS: One of your major accmoplishments was the creation of a public-public partnership for construction of a multi-purpose indoor training facility. Can you go into more detail?
Allman: At Permian they didn’t have an indoor workout facility. I thought it was something that not only would make us more efficient in all of our athletic programs but also change the mentality and commitment in getting us to another level, and getting us on a level playing field with everybody else across the state.
That was a private venture. I went at it one meeting at a time with people in the community. I showed them the need and pictures of other people across the state in our competition in what they were working with and what we were working with. In a short amount of time, I raised $3 million to get that facility built in Odessa.
When I got to Westlake, they had a similar need. I took a different route though. We first attempted a bond, which didn’t pass. I attempted the private route again, which we could’ve done, but that route included some added costs to the district because even when you raise the funds privately for a building like that, the district takes that building eventually and absorbs costs for operations, utilities, and things like that. The district at the time wasn’t interested in doing that.
We went a different route and partnered with a private company that is set to build training facilities for profit. It’s a business to them. It’s a for-profit business and it’s their way to pay for the building and eventually make an income. What we did to partner with them was to allow them to build this facility on school property with agreement with the school district while the school district gets guaranteed use of the building during certain times of the day and year, while also allowing them to run a business in the facility.
The building is not built yet, but the agreement was finalized and agreed upon before I left Westlake. Those types of agreements are becoming more popular because when a school district partners with a business and the business staffs the building, they absorb the costs of building, maintaining, operation costs including utilities, and if the district is willing and able to allow them to do that on school property, they’re able to get a facility of that magnitude without using any taxpayer dollars at any point. That’s the beauty of those types of agreements. It would be similar to a school district allowing a YMCA and allowing that type of entity to partner with them in order to benefit students in their district and serve that purpose as well.
SS: Tell us a little bit about yourself personally.
Allman: I’ve been married to Susan for 22 years and I’m a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She’s a graduate of Abilene Christian University. We met in college. We have three children. Michael is in ninth grade, Emily is a seventh grader, and Abigail is a second grader. They’re all involved in athletics and fine arts. I love being outdoors and I love hunting, fishing and playing golf when I can and spending time with my kids doing all three of those things.
SS: What are your goals for Carroll ISD?
Allman: I think number one: just to maintain and try to enhance the great culture that’s already been established here; the tradition and great coaching staff that’s in place. I want to be an asset to all of them however I can be.
I think we have to take a look at all the little things that take place throughout the district, whether that be facilities or schedules and things like that and try to make sure that we are doing the things necessary to stay on top and even get better.
There’s always room to improve as good as Southlake has been. The administration would say the same thing academically. We’re always trying to find ways to get better and stay on top. That’s a challenge. There’s a lot of good districts around us and great athletic programs around us. It takes a lot of work, commitment and teamwork and a lot of different people and different roles in order to be the best across the board and to find that balance with academics and athletics.
My immediate goals are to start building relationships with the people I work with. I think once I’ve done that then a lot of the other things take care of themselves. Taking a good fresh look at everything that's going on and more than anything else finding out what the needs are and doing that really one person at a time, one coach at a time and one program at a time and doing that on each campus. That’s going to take some time to do that and I really look forward to that challenge and look forward to the relationships that are going to be build over the next several years.
SS: Do you have anything else you'd like to add or parting words to the community?
Allman: I would just say that it’s great to be a Dragon and it’s a dream come true for me. I really look forward to becoming a part of this community and my family becoming a part of this community and being here for a long time and making a difference. Doing my part to make the community better and the school district the best we can make it. I certainly feel blessed to have this opportunity.