There are enough similarities between the programs that John Allen had to admit it's tough to contain his excitement over the possibilities.
Allen, who was named head football coach at Central High School on Friday, recognizes there are parallels between his new program and his first head coaching job at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, where he turned a downtrodden team into a perennial playoff contender.
"Both schools have very supportive communities, administration and plenty of athletes to work with," Allen said. "That's exciting, considering what we were able to build at LFO and the success we had there. I see this being the same scenario, where we can build this program into a winner.
"To have those type numbers, 60-70 kids out, and the fact that the coaches who were here last year had it going in the right direction all add up to an exciting time here."
Allen takes over a Purple Pounders program that experienced a resurgence last season under first-year head coach Sam Montgomery. But after guiding Central to a 6-5 season, its first winning record in seven years, Montgomery resigned last month to spend more time with his three sons.
Allen had coached at Silverdale Baptist Academy for five years, earning playoff appearances in three of those years, before resigning after last season. He previously coached at Bradley Central for one year after having spent five years at LFO. During his tenure with the Warriors they won at least eight games four times, including going 11-1 in his final season. He also led the program to its first playoff victory as well as first region championship and first victory over Dalton.
"Me and my family are very grateful for our time at Silverdale Baptist, and obviously I'm excited about this new opportunity," Allen said. "I'm anxious to see what we can do, but we're in a very competitive league."
In 11 years as a head coach, Allen is 66-54 overall. He plans to be Central's offensive coordinator and will begin the process of looking for an assistant who can take over the defensive coordinator position.
"What we liked most was the experience he's had at different schools, and the fact that he's won most everywhere he's been," Central athletic director Brent Cooper said. "We've changed coaches too much lately, so we want somebody who will stay and build something here. When we started the process, as a committee the first thing we did was pray to find the right man who can lead our kids for the next 8-10 years or so.
"He's a hard worker and he really cares about kids. With the rich tradition Central has, we felt like he's the right guy to take the program in a positive direction."