Mavericks hire Allen to be swimming and diving coach
Ron Allen finally got closer to home, but he wanted to get back into coaching at the collegiate level.
Allen, 49, was announced Wednesday as Colorado Mesa University men’s and women’s swimming and diving head coach.
“I’ve always felt Division II was the niche I belonged in,” Allen said. “Grand Junction is a great place to live in. I have a cousin there. I recruited there, loved the area. Colorado Mesa is forward thinking, especially looking at the facilities.”
Allen, who is originally from Beaverton, Ore., has 17 years of head coaching experience at the college level.
While getting his master’s degree in social psychology at the University of Oregon, Allen helped coach a high school swimming program. There, he realized what he specifically wanted to do.
“The person there I coached high school with swam for Ernie Maglischo,” Allen said. “When we worked together, I was debating what route I would take. I really felt I could reach a wide audience in coaching.”
Maglischo has coached swimming for 38 years and has won 13 NCAA Division II national titles. Allen made contact with Maglischo and became a volunteer assistant for him at California State University-Bakersfield.
“I can truly say I learned from Ernie Maglischo, who was one of the best coaches in the country,” Allen said. “He’s the reason why I was able to land a head coaching job.”
Allen’s two years there helped him get the head coaching job at the University of South Dakota in 1991.
In his 15 years there, Allen turned a program with little history or success into a competitor.
The men’s team won two North Central Conference titles, snapping the University of North Dakota’s reign, and were ranked as high as third in the nation in 1999. The women’s team finished as high as eighth in the final national rankings in 1999.
South Dakota produced one individual national champion and 79 NCAA Division II All-Americans.
Allen left South Dakota in 2005 when the athletic programs moved up to NCAA Division I. He was hired at NAIA Morningside (Iowa) College the same year and was there for four seasons.
The Mustangs set 28 school records, qualified 22 individuals for the NAIA National Championships and coached six NAIA scholar athletes.
However, it didn’t completely satisfy Allen.
“I realized I missed the mountains and trees,” he said. “I started looking at coaching closer to family. I opened it up to club jobs.”
He was the head coach for the Idaho Falls club team since 2008. The job included scheduling, budgeting and fundraising.
Allen takes over the Mavericks from Brian Pearson, who resigned in May. Allen takes over two relatively new programs. The women’s team started in the 2005-06 school year. The men’s team started in 2009-10.
“That’s truly exciting to start a program fairly new,” Allen said. “I don’t hammer a lot of hard yardage early. We’ll focus on technical stuff, then build into harder training and specialize. It’s a huge learning process through the course of the season. We’ll go through the 400 IM (individual medley) phase, swim all four strokes, build endurance to see strengths and weaknesses. We may find raw kids with strengths in areas not seen.”