Phil Allen's contributions to college basketball have earned him a spot in Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Hall of Fame.
Allen retired from Lakeland College 11 years after arriving as a business instructor and the first head coach of the Rustlers men's basketball team.
When he came to Lakeland in 2003, he already had an impressive list of accomplishments as a coach and athletic director.
Allen's coaching career started before the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) with junior high and international wheelchair basketball. His roots in Alberta college basketball were deep. He played for Grant MacEwan College (nowMacEwan Univesity) and Red Deer College. He started college coaching as a player-coach and then assistant at MacEwan.
His 2014 induction into the ACAC noted his "odyssey of success unequaled in the history of the ACAC." It started in 1978 at SAIT where his teams won nine ACAC championships including seven consecutive titles from 1980-86. The Trojans also won two national titles in 1982 and 1986 when the team was undefeated (34-0).
After a decade as SAIT's athletic director, Allen moved to Edmonton and back to Grant MacEwan. The Griffins wonnational bronze with Allen as head coach in 2001. He also coached at Concordia University College.
Allen retired from coaching in 2008 after taking the Rustlers to the CCAA championships. He recorded 805 wins, the most by an ACAC basketball coach, and the most by a Canadian college coach. He did return briefly as an assistant for the Rustlers and Olds College women's teams.
Along the way, Allen earned ACAC Coach of the Year three times and the CCAA Coach of the Year in 1983. He started a holiday classic tournament that SAIT still holds, SAIT's summer basketball camps and a club basketball program in Edmonton. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
As his family and colleagues note, his passion was helping people be successful. A group of his former business students recognized his mentorship by setting up a scholarship in his honour.
In 2007 Allen began a seven-year stint as Lakeland's marketing and enrolment director, then vice president of advancement. His Lakeland legacy includes a strategic enrolment plan and New Holland's investment in the Student-Managed Farm. He retired in 2014.
The same heart problem that caused him to retire early from coaching took his life in early 2016. He'd just started work as a technical director for Basketball Alberta.