During Penn’s postgame press conference last night, I asked Quakers coach Jerome Allen where things go from here now that the season is finally over.
As he prepared to answer me, Allen looked towards the back of the press room. Standing directly in his line of sight was Penn athletic director Steve Bilsky.
Allen paused, then began his response.
Well, probably in about 20 minutes, we’re going to get on the bus and go back to Philly. And get something to eat on the bus. I’m going to get in my car and go home. Spend time with my kids, and then eventually fall asleep.
You’ll find few better statements from candidates for political office, much less college coaching positions. And it wasn’t glib, though Allen was clearly measuring each word as he spoke.
We all know about the groundswell of support Allen has received to get the job full-time. But for whatever rumors we have heard and will hear, nothing will be official until Penn makes an announcement.
I’m not going to make some grand pronouncement about whether Allen deserves the job or not. I’d rather leave that to others, including you all - which is why there’s a poll attached to this blog post.
But if nothing else, Allen’s passion for his alma mater is unmistakable. What other judgement can you make when the first words of his opening statement last night announced the ledger of games in Ivy League basketball’s most famous rivalry?
It is now 122 to 100, and that doesn’t sit well with me. But I love the game, I love this rivalry; I respect the game, I respect this rivalry. And I’m appreciative of the opportunity to be standing in the capacity that I did. I have a lot of respect for this university and all that it represents, its academic and athletic excellence. I wish it nothing but the best.
Note the use of the word “did” - and just to be sure, I’ve listened to the recording three times this morning to make sure that’s the exact word he used. Allen has told me multiple times that he can only worry about what he can control, and he deserves much credit for that.
But surely Allen or anyone else in his position would struggle to ignore the whirlwind of rumors surrounding his future.
So, to the Penn fans and other fans out there, the question is ordered: Should Jerome Allen get the Penn job full-time?
Have at it.