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Lawrence S. Allen
Lawrence S. Allen, better known to most as "Coach" Allen, a resident of Pass Christian, Mississippi, died Saturday, January 8, 2005.
Coach Allen was a native of McComb, Mississippi, and grew up in the Friendship Community. After graduating from high school, he attended Southwest Junior College, Summit, Mississippi. Lawrence interrupted his junior college career and enlisted in the National Guard. He was called to active duty during the Korean Conflict. After an honorable discharge from the Army, Lawrence resumed his education at William Carey College, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, from which he obtained a degree in Social Studies and Physical Education in 1953. That same year he married Doris Honea, a Registered Nurse from Liberty, Mississippi. He always said, "Man who wants pretty nurse — must be patient."
In August, 1953, Lawrence became Assistant Football Coach and Girl's Basketball Coach at Meadville, Mississippi. In 1956, he took his first head coaching position as Head Football Coach at Centreville High School, Centerville, Mississippi. He also coached girl's basketball and baseball while at Centerville High School.
In 1960, Lawrence and Doris moved to Pass Christian, Mississippi, where he assumed the position of Head Coach at Pass Christian High School. He also coached girl's basketball and baseball. In 1961, Lawrence was selected Conference Football Coach of the Year.
In 1966, Coach Allen moved to Bayou View Junior High School as Head Football Coach where he remained for eighteen years. Lawrence chose to coach junior high football because he knew he could have the biggest impact on the younger children. He was always adamant about young men learning to play football the safest way possible to avoid unnecessary and dangerous injuries. While at Bayou View Junior High School, he also coached boy's basketball and track. In 1968, Coach Allen's team at Bayou View went 10-0, winning the 1968 District Four Championship. Coach Allen retired from Bayou View Junior High in 1984, leaving with a record of fourteen-out-of-eighteen winning seasons.
For years after his retirement from coaching, Lawrence received telephone calls from former students and players he had influenced dozens of years before. He often spoke to and attended the weddings and graduations of students he had known in their pre-teen years. That is the magnitude of his relationship with the hundreds of children he helped. It was no different with those hundreds of customers he had up and down the Mississippi Gulf Coast. If Lawrence sold you a vacuum cleaner, he was your friend forever; and you often became his. Many times he made a payment for an elderly person or person in need who couldn't make the payments.
Coach Allen was as famous for his quiet sense of character and unfailing willingness to assist anyone in need as he was for his stories and jokes as anyone who ever met him would know. He never met a stranger - and if he did, they weren't one for long.
A former student remembered that - - -
"Coach" came to Pass Christian High School when I was a sophomore and I really didn't have much interest in football at the time. Well, "Coach" changed that real fast because he only had eight guys show up for first practice after a dismal 1-8 season the year before he got there.
He managed to recruit me and four others for spring practice and we became known as his "faithful 13"!
We learned a whole lot about foot- ball, but more than that, we learn a heck of a lot about life. Can you play with just 13 players? Yep, we went 4-5-1 that year!!