How many women in Dallas ISD can list assistant football coach on their resume?
Desireé Allen can! You see, Allen just finished her third season as a North Dallas assistant football coach. She coaches the varsity defensive backs and kickers and was the co-special teams coordinator.
Allen is being recognized for her accomplishments at the 55th Annual V. Alyce Foster Trailblazer Awards Luncheon at noon on Saturday, April 28, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.
“It’s because of being the first female football coach in the district,” Allen said about the award. “I told them I’m not sure that I am. There might have been some kicker coaches but I don’t believe they were full staff. They might have just worked with the kickers. I don’t think it was a paid coaching position. They told me they contacted DISD and confirmed I am.
“It’s pretty cool because they told me I was unanimously voted,” said Allen, who has been with the Bulldogs coaching staff for last three years.
Allen said her mom, dad and sister will be in town for the event, and to see Allen play for the Dallas Elite, which will be playing later that evening at 7 p.m. at Prestonwood Christian Academy.
Allen graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in San Antonio. She attended the University of Texas at Dallas, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
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 F.D. Roosevelt High School. She met former North Dallas head coach Charles Moss while she was at Lincoln. He offered her a position on his staff in July 2015. She stayed on as an assistant coach under new head coach Fred Johnson.
Allen’s expertise in football also comes from playing for the Dallas Elite, a women’s professional football team. She plays wide receiver and defensive back now, after transitioning from kicking and defensive back. The Elite has advanced to the national championship for the past three years, and won the title with a win over the Boston Renegades.
Playing for the Elite gives Allen an advantage when it comes to coaching football at North Dallas.
“I’m learning first-hand techniques from very reputable coaches that I can bring back to ND,” she said. “I don’t know any opportunities for male coaches to do that unless they are still actively playing. Trainings are usually ‘sit and get.’ I feel it’s a huge advantage for me.”
In an email release, the South Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club, Inc., said “We feel Ms. Desireé Anne Allen, named as the ‘first and only female football coach in the Dallas Independent School District,’ is a tremendous accomplishment and we will honor her at our 55th Annual V. Alyce Foster Trailblazer Awards Luncheon.”
The organization has served Dallas and surrounding cities since 1954. Gwen Daniels is the current president of the group. Some of the other Trailblazers being recognized at the luncheon include:
- Christopher P. Reynolds: The first African American named executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corporation (North America, Inc.). He heads Corporate Resources and serves as the Chief Diversity Officer.
- Dr. Ernestine S. Lacy: The first African American to be named associate dean of Student Affairs and Student Diversity at Texas A&M College of Dentistry.
- Charron Simmons: The first African American Global Manager in the Finance Division for an American Multinational Technology Corporation. Her area of responsibility encompasses North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
Coach Desireé Allen on the difficulty of 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.
Desiree Allen on what she enjoys 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.