How one coach took a stand and made a statement at Gunderson High

Wednesday March 5th, 2014
As juniors and seniors this season (from left to right) David Awolowo, Jonathan Chavez, Mohamed Ali and Mel Sotelo have reaped the benefits of having stood by coach Mike Allen in 2011-12.
John W. McDonough/SI

Finally, on Feb. 10, the season ended. Gunderson had lost 21 games in a row. There were whispers that Coach Allen wouldn't return. That kids were going to leave. Allen had stood his ground, but at what cost? And for what benefit?

The Gunderson 13 (in January 2012, minus Jose Silva) say Allen never explained their suspensions.

Where you come down on the matter may depend on who you are. A 16-year-old sees the world differently from a parent, who sees it differently from a coach. Should we show allegiance to our friends or to authority figures? Should we live in the present or fixate on the future? These are not easy questions to answer, especially for a teenager. Allen says he hopes that the Gunderson 13 learned how important it is "to work together through everything." One wonders if, in the end, it was only the boys who needed to learn that lesson.

Allen has remained dedicated, working with players on everything from post moves to body language.
John W. McDonough/SI
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