The Heritage Hall Alumni Association (HHAA) has honored Assistant Athletic Director Kelly Allen as the 2019 recipient of its Distinguished Faculty Award.
Presented annually during the School’s Faculty Recognition Luncheon, the award recognizes a current faculty or staff member who has exhibited dedication and commitment to inspiring and educating lifelong learners.
HHAA Board member Michael Levine ’04 presented the award on behalf of the Association, pausing briefly to pay tribute to the familiar faces in the audience and noting that many of them, including this year’s award recipient, have been on staff since he first walked these halls 29 years ago.
Since coming to Heritage Hall in 1998, Allen has served in both coaching and teaching roles. Levine said he was fortunate to have Coach Allen as a teacher in eighth grade Ethics and Oklahoma History, and as a high school baseball coach.
Levine recalled one of his favorite memories about Coach Allen. “I’ll never forget walking down the Middle School hall one day and overhearing Coach Allen say to Coach Brown, ‘There goes the future of Heritage Hall baseball.’ For a varsity coach – especially one just coming off the program’s first state championship season – to say something like that is a huge moment for an eighth grader. Years later, though, I learned that Sam McCurdy ’05 was walking right behind me that day, so there went that. All kidding aside, I walked on air that day and worked hard to live up to Coach Allen’s expectations throughout my career,” Levine said.
Levine continued, “Coach Allen teaches his players life lessons that transcend boundaries from baseball to business to family. He shows players how to win and lose the right way, with humility and appreciation for the game and your opponent. He inspires players to work harder, to achieve more, never to be satisfied, and to stay optimistic always. Those are the values that had the biggest impact on my life and that I will be passing down to my boys.”
Quoting legendary basketball coach John Wooden, Levine said, “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.”
“Coach Allen,” Levine concluded, “has empowered and inspired countless young men and women throughout his career.”
Upon accepting the award, Allen remarked, “This is an unbelievable honor. It means a lot to be somewhere for 32 years and still feel wanted and needed. I love Heritage Hall. I love being here. Thank you!”
Allen joins a prestigious list of previous Distinguished Faculty recipients: former Dean of Faculty and Social Studies Department Chair Dr. John Powell; Head of Lower School Betsy Horn; Middle School Dean of Students Craig Brown (Heritage Hall Class of 1978); Associate Athletic Director Chris Gfeller; and Middle School English teacher Cathie Perry.