David Rung, Sports Information Director
WICHITA — R.J. Allen has been selected the next men’s basketball coach at Newman University, athletic director Vic Trilli announced Thursday.
Allen will be formally introduced as the seventh head coach in program history at a press conference at 11:30 Friday morning in the Heritage Room in Sacred Heart Hall on the Newman campus.
“After a long and exhaustive search, we’re extremely happy to have R.J. continue as a member of the Newman Athletics family and take the reins of our men’s basketball program,” Trilli said. “I’m excited to have someone who has called Wichita home for nearly his entire life in here to continue to build the success and visibility of our program. R.J. has all the tools and relationships to be a successful head coach, and I have no doubt that he will hit the ground running, beginning with filling his coaching staff and completing this year’s recruiting class.”
A Wichita native and graduate of Wichita East High School, Allen is excited to take over the only private NCAA Division II program in the state of Kansas.
“It feels great,” Allen said. “I am excited and blessed to have an opportunity to be here in Wichita, my hometown. I’m very appreciative of the chance to be here and to be chosen as the next person to lead this program. I want to thank my wife, who has a lot to put up with as a coach’s wife, and I’m thankful for it every day. I also want to thank my two sons, and my parents for supporting me along the way.
“I’m thankful for Coach [Mark] Potter, who gave me the chance to move back here six years ago and help me in my career, and Coach Trilli and the administration here for providing me with this opportunity.”
In six seasons as an assistant, including the past two as associate head coach on the staff of 19-year veteran Mark Potter, Allen helped the Jets to 88 victories, four trips to the Heartland Conference postseason tournament, and the team’s first NCAA tournament berth after a 20-8 season in 2012-13.
Allen played his prep career and the beginning of his collegiate career in South Central Kansas, becoming a two-time all-city and all-state performer at East High School and helping the Blue Aces to the 2002 6A state championship. He then went on to Hutchinson Community College, where he was named a team captain and led the Blue Dragons to a KJCCC championship with a 30-3 record in 2003-04.
After acquiring his associate degree from Hutchinson, Allen began a seven-year stay as a player and coach at Division II Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota from 2004 to 2011. There, he closed out the final two years of his playing career, and followed with two years as a graduate assistant before joining the staff as a full-time assistant for three seasons.
Allen helped the Golden Bears to their first 20-win season in 2006-07, earning a 21-8 record and a third-place finish in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, still the Bears’ best conference finish in 18 years as a member of Division II. Allen was also responsible for recruiting and developing five NSIC all-conference players at CU.
While in Minnesota, Allen also coached at Woodbury High School for one year, and worked with the 43 Hoops AAU basketball club for one season. Allen and his wife, Tia, reside in Wichita. They have two sons, Cameron and Kendall.