Take it to the mat: West Forsyth hires Timmy Allen as new wrestling coach
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 6, 2023
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
CLEMMONS — When Jason Hooker resigned as the wrestling coach at West Forsyth earlier this year, administrators there knew that it was going to be hard to fill Hooker’s shoes and that it was going to be hard to find a coach because of the dearth of available coaches.
However, Athletic Director Mike Pennington of West Forsyth recently announced that they think they’ve found just that man to replace the very successful Hooker, who helped it win the last two Central Piedmont 4-A championships — Timmy Allen.
“We’ve been fortunate to hire a lot of good coaches at West through the years, and he’s going to be the next one,” Pennington said. “He’s going to be really good. He’s got experience. He’s coached in high school. He’s coached in middle school. Davie County, obviously wrestling is very serious in Davie County.
“We know that from the rivalry we have. He’s going to be ready to go. He’s full of energy.”
Allen, 35, is pretty much a wrestling lifer. Originally from Hollywood, Fla., Allen moved to Davie County, just about 13 miles across the Yadkin River from West Forsyth, when he was a young child. His neighbor just turned out to be Buddy Lowery, the legendary wrestling coach at Davie County High School. Lowery retired after the 2018-19 season, having helped Davie County to 27 Central Piedmont 4-A conference championships in 43 years.
“I made really good friends with Eric Lowery (Buddy Lowery’s youngest son), and he used to waller me, you know, in the living room floor,” Allen said. “I can remember, probably the third or fourth grade, going to watch Davie High wrestle matches. And then it just kind of stuck with me from there.
“And then, in middle school, we had the opportunity to have middle-school wrestling. I went to South Davie Middle School. And then, sixth grade, I started wrestling starting as a manager because they had a seventh- and eighth-grade squad. They had sixth graders, so sixth graders could just be managers … that’s where it all started.”
Once he started wrestling for Buddy Lowery at Davie County High School, he proved that he wasn’t too shabby. Allen wrestled for the War Eagles from 2002-06, and the War Eagles were 141-10 during that span. During his junior season, wrestling at 171 pounds, he finished 55-1 and won the state championship. He had a knee injury while working the summer before his senior season. He didn’t get a chance to repeat, finishing his career at Davie County with a record of 133-25.
“A funny thing is, I actually wrestled when I won my state championship my junior year at 171,” Allen said. “I wrestled in the finals against a guy from West Forsyth (Sherman White), and a funny thing is, my senior year, In the conference match, I had a blown ACL, and I was wrestling some matches, and Davie went over to wrestle at West, and I got booed out of the gym because I didn’t wrestle that match against him.
“That’s just a funny nugget. It’s funny how everything goes full circle in life.”
Even though he injured his knee as a high school senior, he wrestled collegiately at UNC Pembroke for three seasons under Coach Jamie Gibbs. While there, he tore his ACL again. Before his senior year, he stopped wrestling and became an assistant coach to Head Coach Othello Johnson, who wrestled in high school at Mount Tabor.
“Honestly, I’ve always had a knack for helping and coaching,” Allen said. “I would go around to the middle-school programs and roll with them and help with them. I’d go to North Davie (Middle) and help. I’d go to South Davie and help.”
In recent years, Allen was the football and wrestling coach at North Davie Middle School. He also assisted along with Perry Long, who succeeded Buddy Lowery as the head coach at Davie when Lowery retired. Long, who recently resigned, was replaced by Allen’s good friend, Josh Stanley, who was the head coach at Lake Norman High School and owner of Combat Athletics.
“I went right into teaching,” Allen said after he graduated from UNC Pembroke. “I got my teaching certification in health and PE and went back and got a job at North Davie Middle School. From there, I coached wrestling for a couple years at North Davie, and then I jumped up to Davie High School as Coach Lowery’s assistant for it feels like five years, but it might’ve just been four.
“And then I went back down to North Davie for a couple years.”
Allen will be a health and PE teacher at West Forsyth. That means he will be available throughout the day for the wrestlers, as well as to Pennington and Principal Kevin Spainhour.
“When he’s a teacher, and he’s a good teacher, too,” Pennington said. “He’s young. And I think Timmy Allen is just, whatever he does, he’s going to do a good job at it. He doesn’t know any different. So, he’ll be an asset.”
Allen and his wife Hannah, as well as his sons Abram, 6, and Everett, 5, will remain in Davie County until the children are old enough to make their decision on which high school they want to attend.
“You’ve got to, as a coach, you’ve got to build like a trust relationship, and you’ve got to build a rapport with the kids,” Allen said. “Just having my face around that campus is going to be a big deal. “You know, when I went to talk to Spainhour and Pennington, I said I cannot do this job the way it needs to be done without being at the school.
“You’ve got to build those relationships. They have to know who you are. A lot of the kids don’t know me yet. They’ve never seen me before, so that’s probably been the hardest transition so far, is just not being at the school officially.”
Another advantage to Allen being there on campus is that the Titans have big numbers of athletes who wrestle there.
“Our wrestling team is as big as most football teams,” Pennington said. “Other than us, East (Forsyth) and Reagan, the biggest team in this county was West Forsyth wrestling.”
Hooker also oversaw the girls wrestling team, and Tony Hairston is the new girls head coach. Also, Hooker, who wanted to spend more time with his family, is open to helping Allen if needed. Allen and Pennington are willing to let him do that.
“I’ll be overseeing all that,” Allen said of coaching the boys and girls. “We’ll kind of figure out the kinks as far as how practice will run once we’re in-season. Right now, we’ve had five to seven girls at a time, so I’ve been kind of managing them.”
West Forsyth will travel to Davie County this season, quite possibly wrestling for a Central Piedmont 4-A championship, which will be a unique experience for Allen.
“I’m looking forward to that,” Allen said. “You know, half of Davie’s squad are my former wrestlers. It’ll be interesting.”