Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.


Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.


There is a part of Al Allen’s life omitted in his biography.

Al Allen was a terrific track and field and cross-country coach. He had been a hurdler on the Louisiana State University track and field team. Al Allen coached track and cross-country teams at Treadwell High School, Memphis State College, and Union University. His teams at Treadwell won city and state championships. He initiated high school cross-country in the Memphis city high schools. At Memphis State in 1954 and 1955, his team won the collegiate state track and field championship. At Union University, he taught art and coached track and field.

Coach Allen instilled a desire in each team member to do their very best, whether they were a great athlete or one who struggled to make the team. Coach Allen motivated everyone. Each team member wanted to do their best for Coach Allen. He made us want to beat our personal bests in our events. This desire by each team member to better personal bests resulted in championship track and field teams.

Coach Allen’s name came up at my Treadwell High School Class of 1954 fiftieth reunion. Several former members of his track teams were in attendance. We recalled how Coach Allen had affected our lives.

Upon graduation from Memphis University in 1958, I entered the U.S. Navy. Many times over twenty years in the navy and twenty years working for a large international company, I recalled the things that Coach Allen imparted to us. “Do your best,” “Do better next time,” “Always finish the race.” Simple slogans perhaps, but ones long remembered and applied throughout life.

Al Allen’s teachings on the athletic field have inspired me throughout my life. I am proud to have been on Al Allen coached teams as, I am sure, are many others.


William Derryberry
Locust Grove, VA