Meet Joel Allen, Point Loma High School’s new football coach
There are a lot of unknowns about the new high school football season, but one thing is certain: The Point Loma Pointers will be led by a new coach, Joel Allen.
The appointment follows longtime coach Mike Hastings’ decision to step down in October, saying he wanted to focus on his health and spend more time with his family. Hastings led the Pointers for 22 years — leaving Allen with big shoes to fill.
But Allen said he’s ready for the challenge.
Though he’s only 36, Allen already has an extensive coaching career under his belt, beginning with his alma mater, Christian High School in El Cajon. That was followed by The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, where Allen was the head football coach for more than a decade and the athletic director for nine years.
He recently stepped down at Bishop’s for a new career with his brother’s company, Global Disposal Reduction Services, with plans to return to coaching in some capacity in a couple of years. However, when the position at Point Loma High opened, Allen couldn’t turn down the opportunity, he said.
“I definitely had my eye on Point Loma as a place that I wanted to coach, but then at the same time, I didn’t think Coach Hastings would step aside that quickly,” Allen said. “So I thought, ‘If I don’t do it now, the opportunity may never come back again.’
“This is a place where quality people went and quality people stayed — and I think those are two great attributes of a school like Point Loma High School.”
Bishop’s Head of School Ron Kim expressed his appreciation for the work Allen contributed to the school over the past decade.
“Coach Joel Allen was an important part of The Bishop’s School for over a decade, and in his 10 seasons as head coach, Bishop’s football teams won three CIF championships and a California state championship, and hundreds of Bishop’s student-athletes in various sports went on to play at the college level,” Kim said in a statement.
Allen said he is “proud of the fact that I got to be at a place like Bishop’s for a long period of time — that when I left I got to leave on my own terms, and they were incredibly supportive of me as a person. Of course, they were wanting me to stay, and that was obviously flattering, but they knew also that it was my time to take on something different.”
Aside from football, San Diego County has been another constant in Allen’s life. He was born and raised here, living in Chula Vista and Jamul before moving to Bay Park a few years ago. Currently his children attend High Tech High in Point Loma, and Allen’s new office with his brother’s company is across from Liberty Station.
Though COVID-19 restrictions have made it difficult to interact with his new players, Allen has started connecting with them. In November, he spoke with many of the players and their families via Zoom. He also got the chance to meet a few mask-wearing athletes in person during voluntary conditioning at the school.
In addition to coaching the team, Allen said he’s looking forward to mentoring the students, exploring the Point Loma neighborhood and engaging with the community.
Though many qualified candidates applied for Hastings’ job, Point Loma High Principal Kelly Lowry said Allen’s demonstrated commitment was one of the primary reasons he was picked to fill the position.
“Joel understood that dynamic — that the Point Loma community has an expectation at this point that their head football coach is in it for the long haul and is really dedicated to the community,” Lowry said.
“Obviously his resumé speaks for itself; he is successful. ... But what was more important to us was somebody that understands what education-based athletics is about,” Lowry said. “And what it’s really about is developing young people into productive citizens when they leave Point Loma High School. Yes, it is great to win — and I love winning — but we want these kids to win at life.”
As Allen settles in as the Pointers’ new head coach, the upcoming football season is anything but settled because of COVID-19 restrictions.
On Dec. 1, the California Interscholastic Federation postponed high school sports practices that were slated to begin Dec. 12. Competition was to begin Jan. 8.
CIF said it would await new state guidance for youth sports but didn’t expect any allowing schools to return to full practice and competition until the new year.
“The San Diego Unified City Conference seems to think that we are probably looking at mid-January of getting more specific information and going from there,” said Manuel Diaz, Point Loma High’s athletic director.
Regardless of when high school football returns, Lowry said he’s confident Allen will be an outstanding coach, mentor and leader.
“I believe that we hired a great coach for our students and for our community ... whether we’re able to play or not. He’s engaging with kids, and kids are going to benefit right now [during the pandemic] from Joel being part of the program,” Lowry said.