Entering his 22nd season as the Giants’ head coach, Jody Allen is coming off of one of the most successful baseball seasons in COS history by placing third in last year’s state championships. Coach Allen was also named the American Baseball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year (Pacific Division), a first for a CVC coach. Allen’s tenure at COS has produced an impressive span that has included 12 playoff appearances, six top-20 finishes, five top-eight finishes, trips to the Final Four in 1997 and 2014, a school record of 38 wins in one season, and a fourth-in-the-state finish in 1997 and a third place finish last year in 2014.
Four seasons ago, Allen passed local baseball coaching icon Bert Holt, now working with Allen as an assistant, on the Giants’ all-wins list. Allen is 534-366-3 as the Giants head coach. Holt was 423-343-3 during his tenure as head coach.
Under Coach Allen, the Giants have averaged over 25 wins per season, and Coach Allen was named the Central Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2014. Allen got his 500th win in 2013 when COS defeated Modesto in a single-game elimination to qualify for the playoffs. One of the most memorable wins for the COS program under Coach Allen came in 2000 when the Giants defeated two-time state champion Sacramento City College in the first round of the playoffs. This marked the first time in playoff history that the No. 1 seed was beaten in the first round. More recently, Coach Allen’s 2006 squad capped its season with a 15-game winning streak that stretched into the top 10 of the Northern California playoffs.
While it would be easy to focus on Coach Allen’s 58 percent winning percentage, the highest since Pete Biden’s one-year stint as head baseball coach in 1947, it is noteworthy to recognize that his philosophy encompasses far more than winning baseball games. More than improving their skills on the field, Coach Allen works with his players to help them achieve their aspirations beyond COS baseball, whether it be completing their college educations, continuing their baseball careers at four-year schools or even competing as professional baseball players. He readily acknowledges that his teams honor many of the old-school baseball traditions and touches such as wearing uniform socks and stirrups up.
Allen is a graduate of Hoover High School in Fresno, where he played football and baseball. His collegiate career and education began at Kings River College in Reedley, where he was a shortstop under longtime coach Jack Hacker. In 1984, he was honored as the Male Athlete of the Year. Coach Allen continued his education and playing career at Fresno State. As a junior he was part of the 1985 conference championship team, and as a senior his leadership qualities earned him the honor of being named team captain.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1987, Coach Allen returned to Kings River College to spend three seasons as an assistant coach under Jack Hacker. In 1990, he earned his master’s degree in Physical Education and joined the staff at COS as an assistant under Coach Al Branco. After three seasons under Branco, Coach Allen was named head coach for the 1994 season.
Coach Allen’s extensive experience also reaches outside of the U.S. In 1985, he represented the United States on a team that traveled to Australia to play in a tournament against several club teams. In 1995, he also traveled outside of the U.S. as the head coach of a 15-16-year-old team that participated in and won an international tournament in China. In 1996, Coach Allen was an assistant coach for an 18-year-old-and-younger team that won yet another international tournament in Melbourne, Australia.
Allen and his wife, Lisa, have been married 27 years an live in Visalia; they have four children, Kailey, Lindsey, Cydnee and Payton.