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Dan Allen named New England Football Writers’ “Coach of the Year”

By Frank Mastrandrea ’88

Holy Cross head football coach Dan Allen was named New England Coach of the Year by the New England Football Writers. Allen led the Crusaders to a 7-4 record this season marking the highest win total for Holy Cross since 1991.

This marks the fourth time since 1971 that a Holy Cross coach has earned New England Coach of the Year honors. Mark Duffner (1986, 1991) and Ed Doherty (1971) are the other two Crusader head coaches who have earned this distinction.

Allen’s 7-4 record this season marked a four-win improvement over last year. His 4-2 mark in the Patriot League was the highest win total for the College since 1992. Allen led the Crusaders to a second-place finish in the league, which was the program’s highest finish since 1992.

One of the keys to Allen’s success was the Holy Cross defense, which raised its game to a new level, especially in the final three games of the season. The Crusaders held the opposition without a touchdown for 10 quarters (161:20) heading into the Fordham game. The Rams ended that streak with 8:00 left to play in the first quarter; a touchdown ended the Crusaders’ defensive touchdown scoreless streak at 168:20. The streak was the longest for a Holy Cross squad in the Division I-AA era and the longest since 1970. The longest streaks previous to this season occurred when the Crusaders held the opposition without a touchdown for eight quarters in 1978 and 1983.

The Crusaders were also impressive at home this season. Holy Cross posted a record of 4-1 at Fitton Field. In three-of-the-four wins, the team had to come from behind to capture victories. Holy Cross knocked off Towson in the home opener, 17-14, and after a tough 21-6 loss to the eventual Patriot League Champions, Lehigh University, the Crusaders came from behind to defeat Bucknell. The team then came back from a six-point deficit to defeat Fordham, 27-20. Entering the season, Holy Cross had not posted a winning record at home since 1992 when the Crusaders notched a 5-2 mark at Fitton Field.

Holy Cross was also tough on the road, posting a record of 3-3. The .500 record marked the first time since 1991 that the Crusaders have posted a record of .500 or better away from Fitton Field.

Allen picked up his 50th career victory with the Crusaders’ thrilling 10-9 win over Bucknell. Placekicker Ryan Rolfert ’03 connected on a season-long 39-yard field goal as time expired.

Under Allen, the 2000 Crusaders were very well-balanced, ranking fourth in rushing offense (151.0 yards per game) and fourth in total offense (348.7 yards per game). Holy Cross also ranked second in passing defense (164.0 yards per game) and third in rushing defense (162.2 yards per game). The Crusaders ranked second in third down conversions (41.8 percent) and first in time of possession (32:43).

Holy Cross defeated two nationally ranked teams (Towson, 18th , and Bucknell, 20th) and was ranked 10th in the Lambert Poll at the end of the season.

This marks the second time in his career that Allen has garnered New England Coach of the Year honors. In 1993, he led Boston University to a 12-1 mark, earning New England Coach of the Year as well as Kodak/American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division I-AA National Coach of the Year honors. That same year, he also was named The Sports Network’s Eddie Robinson Award winner as the National Division I-AA Coach of the Year and the Gridiron Club of Boston Coach of the Year.


Dan Allen

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