By JAY A. COFFIN
Editor Digital Media/Video
Greg Allen sat in a golf cart during the third round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship and was asked if he’d pursue any of the high-profile jobs that would be available this summer. He talked about how happy he was at Arizona and how he enjoyed the gig now as much as he did when he was named head coach in July 2000.
“But, my wife (Julie) is pregnant with our fourth child,” Allen quipped. “And the other three have all been born in different cities. Our third was born in Tucson, so you never know.”
Funny how that little joke became reality five weeks later. Allen was named Vanderbilt women’s coach Tuesday, replacing good friend Martha Richards, who left for Texas several weeks ago.
A big reason for the move was location, as Allen, 35, is a native of Beechmont, Ky., which is less than 100 miles north of Nashville, Tenn.
“It was the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make,” Allen said. “But in the end, it was too good of an opportunity for our family to pass up. This is a chance for us to get back to that part of the country and have our children be near family.”
Allen left one good team for another. Arizona was ranked 13th in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and finished 12th at the NCAA Championship in May. He inherits a Commodore team that finished ranked 11 and was sixth at the NCAA Championship. Vanderbilt standouts Chris Brady and Kristen Svicarovich graduated, but Jacqui Concolino will be a junior this year and has been one of the nation’s best players during her first two years in Nashville.
“We have great players and I want to keep recruiting the right people,” Allen said. “The academic standards are unbelievable. I’m really impressed with their commitment to athletics and Nashville is a great golf community.”
While at Arizona, Allen led the Wildcats to two Pac-10 Conference Championships and coached LPGA stars Lorena Ochoa, Natalie Gulbis and Erica Blasberg – a group that produced three NCAA Players of the Year, two National Freshmen of the Year awards and three Pac-10 Players of the Year.
“We are absolutely delighted to have such an outstanding person and proven coaching talent joining our program,” Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams said. “We conducted an intensive national search and everyone has good things to say about Greg Allen. His vast experience running a top-10 program, his record as one of the nation’s top recruiters and his down to earth personality makes him an ideal fit for us at this time.”
Allen and his wife Julie are expecting their fourth child in January. They have two daughters, – Maggie, 12, and Mollie, 8 – a 5-year-old son Mason and believe their fourth child could be a girl. Mason was born in Tucson, but Maggie and Mollie were born in Atlanta and Austin, Texas, respectively.
Could a move to Nashville produce a third Allen girl born in three different state capitals?
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Jay A. Coffin is Golfweek's editor of digital media and video. To reach him e-mail [email protected]