COVINGTON -- Former Newton head football coach Cortez Allen is ready to go back to where it started for him after taking over the reins for the Rams three years ago.
Allen, who came to Newton five years ago under head coach Nick Collins, officially stepped down on Thursday as Newton's head coach to take the head coaching position at M.L. King.
"The opportunity of going back to something you helped build. M.L. King is a tremendous program, it always has been since the school opened up," Allen said. "They were quarterfinalists with almost everybody coming back on defense and maybe two or three spots on offense that have to be filled. This is a great opportunity to be with a big program in the state."
M.L. King's former head coach, Mike Carson, was dismissed before the first game of the season after allegedly sending nude photographs of himself to a single mother of two of his players. Now Allen is hoping to bring stability to the program he helped start. M.L. King opened its doors in the 2001 school year and Allen was the defensive coordinator for three years starting in 2002.
This is not the first time that Allen considered going to the Lions. Three years ago, before becoming head coach for the Rams, Allen interviewed and got the head coach position but turned it down. This time he did not feel he could do that again.
"Some former colleagues and people I had worked with in the past continued to keep me informed about everything that was going on. The job opened up in mid-January and got some interest from some people. I interviewed during our winter break. Things went well and I got the phone call on Monday offering me the job," Allen said. "It was an opportunity that presented itself again and the second time has to be the charm because I don't know if the third time would've come around," he said. "I think it's the best time to make that move."
In his five years at Newton, Allen turned a program that went 3-7 in his first year into hosting a state playoff game last year, something that had not happened since 1987. As a head coach, Allen had two winning seasons going 6-4 before finishing the regular season 5-5 last year. In his three years as head coach, he also helped send 25 players to the collegiate level including D.J. Hill who is a linebacker at Virginia and Purdue running back Akeem Hunt.
Even though Allen is moving on, he is still concerned about the Newton players and the program.
"I've expressed to Dr. (Craig) Lockhart that anything I can do to insure the continued success of this program that I'm more than willing to support him in doing that. I love these kids and the community," Allen said. "They've given me an opportunity and it's been awesome working here and with these kids.
"One thing I told the kids is that once I'm their coach I'm always their coach and I'm always there for them to support them in any endeavor I can assist them in. I continued to encourage them to continue to fight and work hard to prepare themselves. I assured them that they would continue to be supported and the administration would do a great job of finding a replacement."