North Dallas assistant football coach Desireé Allen may be the only female football coach in the Dallas ISD. As defensive backs coach, she has the experience to do the job.
You see, Allen plays cornerback and kicker for the Dallas Elite, a women’s tackle football team. She has played women’s tackle football for three years. This past season, the undefeated Elite advanced to the WFA national championship game against the D.C. Divas on Aug. 8 in Los Angeles, where they lost 30-26.
Allen said she had aspirations to coach football, and she learned the game as video coordinator for five years at Lincoln High School and then two years at Roosevelt High School. She met North Dallas head coach Charles Moss while at Lincoln. This year, despite a lack of coaching experience, he offered her a position on his staff in July.
“I am now in my first official year as the first female football coach at North Dallas High School,” she said. “I don’t know if any other females have coached football in DISD. I’d love to have been the first, but I honestly don’t know.”
Learn more about Allen in the following profile:
Name: Desireé (Dez) A. Allen
High schools attended:
9th — Mascoutah Community H.S., Mascoutah, Il.
10-11th — Balboa H.S. Balboa, Republic of Panama
12th — Theodore Roosevelt H.S., San Antonio
College attended and major: The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson; BA in Mathematics
Played soccer four seasons; played basketball first year; assistant coach 2 1/2 seasons
What subjects do you teach: Geometry/Geometry PAP
School activities: Football, assistant coach (defensive backs); Girls’ basketball, junior varsity
My hobbies are: playing full contact football for Dallas Elite women’s football; co-host of MPFL’s Online Radio Show Saturday Night Lights; dancing and karaoke
I’m most proud of: playing women’s tackle football three seasons now and playing in two national championship games. I was the kicker and a starting cornerback this past season with Dallas Elite. We went undefeated but lost in the WFA Championship 30-26.
The two people I’d most like to meet are: President Obama, of course, he’s a ground breaker. Sportswise, Serena Williams.
Favorite sports team: Dallas Elite women’s football, of course. Then the Dallas Cowboys (gotta support the hometown and dad’s favorite team)
Favorite sports athlete: Serena Williams on so many levels.
My favorite musical artist is: artist: Michael Jackson; group: New Edition!
My favorite restaurant is: Houlihan’s
I wish I knew how to: sing better
The best advice I ever received was: “You can’t love somebody else until you learn to love yourself!”
If I could travel anywhere, I would go: Hawaii again, but with someone.
Nobody knows I: am a hopeless romantic. I have always had this vision of meeting the man of my dreams and living happily ever after. That sounds so sappy, I know. I tend to let people see the tough side of me, but I’m a big ole softy inside.
I get inspiration from: underdogs prevailing. That’s why I love this football team. They are an amazing group of athletes and coaches. I know there are many that doubt us that should be supporting us, but there are so many more rooting for us and what our progress represents.
What is your football background?
I was the football video coordinator for five years at Lincoln High School and two years at Roosevelt High School. In fall 2012, I started playing women’s tackle football for the Dallas Diamonds as a defensive back, playing corner, safety and free safety. We went undefeated and played in the national championship. My second year, I played for the Arlington Impact as a Q-linebacker.
This past year, I played for the Dallas Elite women’s football team in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) in the Elite’s inaugural season as a starting cornerback and the kickoff kicker. We went undefeated and played in the national championship.
By playing football, I put myself in the position to be offered the opportunity to co-host an online radio show on Monday nights called Saturday Night Lights, which showcases the Minor Professional Football League (for men), highlights some other men’s leagues and now highlights the WFA.
What motivated you to get into coaching football?
I came to DISD 11 years ago specifically to work with athletics, and soon had aspirations of becoming an athletic coordinator. I filmed football and coached three other high school sports while unofficially assisting several other teams as needed. I really wanted to coach a boys team. I tried to take advantage of opportunities to diversify my athletic background too. I felt a good athletic coordinator should know what it takes for the various sports to run smoothly and know what their coaches go through. I’ve applied at several schools in DISD over the past four years and none had looked twice, some didn’t even respond.
Interesting enough, Coach Charles Moss didn’t know I had been applying this year, and he called me and offered me the position to come on board. He knew I had zero experience coaching football but knew I’d played three seasons and filmed seven. When he was the defensive coordinator at Lincoln, I was the video coordinator, and he noticed something people outside of the school wouldn’t know. I was that “go-to” person when an athletic team needed something.
What is difficult about coaching boys?
I’ve always been a tomboy running with and playing sports with my male cousins and friends all my life. It’s what I’m use to and more comfortable with. That being said, I have a little extra pressure to make sure to provide a strong and positive role model as an educator, an African American, a coach and as a woman. Let’s be honest, unfortunately, every kid doesn’t have a strong female role model for whatever reason, so I try to help fill that void when needed, and it’s not always easy. Coaching is not just coaching.
Of course, I get some double takes and have encountered a jab here or there from a few “individuals” outside of our coaching family. It’s sad that the difficulties came from lack of professionalism, maturity or support on the adult side. But honestly, that was literally a handful of incidents. The positivity toward me coaching outweighs the negativity 10,000 to 1.
The funny thing is, these boys have the utmost respect for me, they actually like having me as a coach. A freshman once said, “Hey Coach Allen, my favorite football coach!” I thought he was being silly, and I responded, “Oh really, why is that? He replied, “Because you’re a female and you had to fight to get here to coach, and that means a lot with me.” I almost teared up … that soft side coming out.
What do you enjoy most about coaching at ND? The opportunity to teach these boys something that will not only make them better athletes, but better people and improve the culture at this school is priceless. And I just love these kids to death, they made me feel so welcomed from day one that I chose to make some real sacrifices just to be here. They are a charming and witty bunch … never a dull moment.
The football coaches are like my band of brothers. I couldn’t imagine this opportunity with a different group. It’s funny that I’m the oldest football coach. That and being a military brat make the dynamics very interesting with this mix of personalities and backgrounds. I’ve spent many a time crying from laughing so hard with these gentlemen.
Your thoughts on this year’s ND football team?
This is by far one of the most talented group of football players North Dallas High School has seen in decades. My cousin Carey Johnson (1983-86) was QB, and he has expressed how excited so many alumni are about this season. The district, alumni, the state and everyone noticed it from our first game.
We started off strong, and hit a bump, but that’s OK, we’re still at it, making improvements, so keep watching. Of course, we’d love to make it to the playoffs for the first time in 62 years, that was our goal from day 1, we raised the bar. Regardless of the final record, I want these boys to be able to hold their heads high and be able to look back and smile at what they have accomplished as they tell stories to their kids about how they were one of the best teams to play for North Dallas High School. I don’t have kids, so they are my kids, I think they have amazing talents and honestly, are a great group of kids.
Any final comments?
I want to thank Coach Charles Moss for being the one to providing me with this opportunity. I also appreciate North Dallas Principal Patty Rodriguez for bringing me on board, and Principal Brian De Veaux of Roosevelt for supporting my decision to pursue this opportunity. I’m blessed to have good people around me that believe in me.