James Allen, IV
Born: (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
Died: December 7, 2014 (London, Ontario)
Jim Allen was a longtime coach and sports administrator in London, Ont., where as a schoolboy he was a first-rate sprinter.
In May, 1961, he equalled two Canadian schoolboy records in the 100 yards (9.9 seconds) and 220 yards (21.9), but the times were not submitted for official status as no wind records were kept at the London and district conference track and field championships.
The record holder was Harry Jerome of Vancouver, who went on to set world records in both the 100-yard and 100-metre dashes.
On June 23, 1961, Allen raced neck-and-neck with Bob Fisher-Smith, 17, of Ottawa, in the 220-yard race at the Canadian senior track and field championships in St. Lambert, Que. Some 1,200 fans were on their feet as the runners crossed the finish line. Officials disagreed on the outcome of the race, which was finally awarded to Fisher-Smith.
Allen broke Jerome’s interscholastic mark by running the 220 in 21.5 seconds in 1961.
In July, 1961, Allen, who was finishing his studies at London South Secondary with summer courses, drove to Toronto to compete at a track meet at York Memorial Collegiate Institute. He won his heat in the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat, then got back into his car to return to London so he could attend class first thing in the morning.
Allen became a longtime teacher and coach with the Thames Valley Board of Education before retiring in 2001. He continued coaching as a volunteer. At the time of his death, he coached the senior girls and junior boys Golden Ghosts teams at Central Secondary in London.
In 1991, he was assistant coach of the men’s basketball team at the University of Western Ontario. The Mustangs went 32-3 during the season before winning the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union championship with a 78-69 victory over the Guelph Gryphons in Halifax. The team was inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Along with his hefty coaching responsibilities, Allen was also executive director of the London Sports Council.