FOOTSTEPS OF LEGENDS: After a decade of excellence, Allen steps down as head coach of the Stars

Jeff Allen, who guided the Stars for 10 seasons, has stepped down as the head coach of the BNL girls program. He recorded a 226-45 record and won the 4A state championship in 2023.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Jeff Allen followed in the footsteps of legends. And he become one, blazing his own trail while continuing the tradition of excellence and championships with the state’s premier basketball program.

After 10 ultra-successful seasons, a decade of heavenly excellence among the Stars, Allen has stepped down as head coach at Bedford North Lawrence. He leaves with a remarkable 226-45 record, the second-best winning percentage (83.4) among active coaches in the state with more than 120 wins, and the second-most career victories in program history behind Pete Pritchett (271-25). The void in his wake will be huge.

Allen paid his dues and was rewarded. He served five seasons as an assistant under Kurt Godlevske and Damon Bailey, then took over the two-time defending state champions in 2014-15 and continued to fill the trophy case. BNL won 10 sectionals, three regional titles, one semistate, and the 2023 Class 4A state championship under his command.

He viewed his job as a protector of the tradition and legacy of BNL basketball. He did more than that, he added to the great history and the banners that hang in the northeast corner of BNL Fieldhouse. Coaches have a saying in the profession – “Don’t be the guy that follows The Guy.” Allen succeeded greats in the program and still became The Guy.

Jeff Allen guided the Stars to a 20-5 record and the program’s 13th straight sectional title this season.

His health dictated the timing and decision. His team and coaching staff realized what was coming, but the tears still flowed when he officially announced it.

“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in a long, long time,” Allen said. “I haven’t felt well at all, so it has nothing to do with the program or the kids. It’s about my health and age. If I was 10 years younger, I wouldn’t be going anywhere. But I’m not. I have to realize I have to take care of myself and my family.”

His portfolio speaks volumes, with all the dancing on the square to celebrate titles. Allen was blessed with talent during his run, as BNL has produced seven Indiana All-Stars and seven Div. I players under his watch. He knew how to get the best out of what he was granted. He could be destined for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Those kids made me look like a good coach,” Allen said. ”I’ve been very fortunate. I tried my best to uphold the standard and excellence that has become Lady Stars basketball. I love coaching at BNL, I love the kids I coached there. I can only hope I’ve touched their lives as much as they have touched mine.

Allen talks to the Stars on the bench during the 2023 state final.

“It’s been memories for a lifetime. Being in that position with such a prestigious program is a luxury, to spend four years with some really quality kids. I will stop and look back, and I will miss it. I know I will. I will also feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to be involved in that. You have to stop and count your blessings in your life sometimes, and I’ve been fortunate to have some great basketball players, but also outstanding kids. I had a lot of fun, and success breeds fun, there’s no doubt.”

Two of those phenomenal players were his own daughters. Jenna (2015) was a force on the back-to-back state champions in 2013-14, and she later played at Michigan State before enjoying a professional career in Spain. Jorie was the Miss Basketball in 2019 and finished as the school’s career scoring leader. She now plays for DePaul.

“I loved coaching my daughters, but there is stress that comes into that,” Allen said. “Anybody that has ever done it will tell you that. You try to handle it the best you can. It’s a difficult thing to not hold your daughter to a different standard than the other team members. It’s hard to do. So it was much more relaxing to coach girls who were not my daughters. I look at all of them and tell them I would treat them like my daughter, because I tried to do that.”

Allen never lost a sectional game during his 10-year tenure with BNL.

Allen’s basketball journey started at Eastern Greene. He scored over 1,000 career points for the Thunderbirds, averaging 21 points at 12 rebounds as a senior. He played two seasons at Vincennes University under legend Dan Sparks (totaling 546 points on teams that went 44-22 overall), then played for DePaul great Ray Meyer (totaling 40 points in 31 career appearances for the Blue Demons) and roomed with future NBA veteran Tyrone Corbin. After two seasons as a graduate assistant under Joey Meyer at DePaul, Allen moved to Bedford in 2007.

“Coach Meyer always made me feel I was as important as anybody,” Allen said. “And I tried to carry that over with my team. Those kids that don’t play are as important as anyone. You don’t have a team without them.”

He joined Jamie Hudson’s staff with the BNL boys for two years, then made the switch to the girls for the 2009-10 campaign. The rest is history. He was also the Indiana All-Star coach in 2020 (when the games were cancelled) and 2021.

Whoever replaces Allen on the bench will follow in the footsteps of another giant. Allen offered advance for his successor.

“With high school girls basketball, you have to make it fun,” he said. “There is pressure to win because of our tradition, but it has to be fun. Kids will work hard and be successful if they’re enjoying what they’re doing. And you have to lean on the community. That community support has been great for me, how they treated me as a coach. They will welcome the next person with open arms.”


Year Record

2014-15 26-1

2015-16 19-8

2016-17 21-5

2017-18 23-5

2018-19 23-6

2019-20 21-6

2020-21 22-3

2021-22 24-3

2022-23 27-3

2023-24 20-5

Totals 226-45

10 sectional titles (2015-24)

3 regional titles (2018, 2020, 2023)

1 semistate title (2023)

1 STATE TITLE (2023)

5 HHC titles (2015, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2023)

Indiana All-Star coach (2021)