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