Former Penn coach Jerome Allen joins Boston Celtics

(Laurence Kesterson/AP)
Jerome Allen is leaving the Palestra for the Boston Garden (okay, the TD Garden). (AP)

As an outstanding people person who the Philadelphia Inquirer correctly noted that no one wanted to see fired as Penn head coach in March, Jerome Allen was likely to find a decent assistant coaching gig outside the confines of the Palestra.

But was anybody expecting this?

Per City of Basketball Love, Allen will join the Boston Celtics to become associate head coach under Brad Stevens, who Allen coached against in 2013 when the latter was still at Butler (Butler defeated Penn, 70-57).

Incidentally, Allen was the last Ivy League player to be selected in the NBA Draft, taken in the second round in 1995 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, one of three teams Allen played for in his 117-game NBA career (the other two were the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets).

Allen went 65-104 at Penn, including 38-46 in Ivy League play. Allen’s Penn coaching fate was sealed during the 2013-14 season, when the Quakers finished just 8-20 despite being projected to finish second in the conference with a senior-laden squad and then-athletic director and Allen supporter Steve Bilsky announced his retirement.

Allen signed a five-year contract in 2012 following a 20-13 season and CBI appearance and took a $650,000 buyout from his contract when he was fired by Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun.

Before Allen was installed as Penn’s permanent head coach in March 2010, he served as Penn’s interim head coach after his predecessor Glen Miller was fired following an 0-7 start to the 2009-10 campaign, which was Allen’s first as an assistant coach at the collegiate level. Allen’s only previous coaching experience was with Snaidero Cucine in Italy.

So what the Celtics are getting is a coach who did not meet high head coaching expectations at his alma mater in pretty much the only sustained run as any sort of coach at any level. That’s what makes this such an interesting hire for Boston. Having said that, Allen was always well-respected by the vast majority of the players he coached and the coaches he squared off with, and he could follow a long pipeline of former Penn head coaches who went on to stand out in various NBA roles (Jack McCloskey, Dick Harter, Chuck Daly, Bob Weinhauer).

Allen is set to join Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young as assistants on the coaching staff for the Celtics, who are 65-99 in two seasons with Stevens at the helm.

2 thoughts on “Former Penn coach Jerome Allen joins Boston Celtics”

  1. Mike –

    Good for JA re Celtics job, but what I was stunned that Bilsky had given him a 5-Year contract extension that had to be bought out for $650,000. Based on what? Pardon my cynacism in asking the following:

    1) Was Bilsky giving Penn and/or his critics the middle finger salute on his way out?
    2) Even more damning than # 1, was Bilsky managing to a budget – meaning this was a way to keep costs of Penn Sports under control regardless? Was JA’s $150,000/yr cost, regardless the crappy results, the primary consideration?
    3) #2 fits with the article you wrote about Penn sports having the lowest Ivy sports budget, and budget considerations being a primary consideration (my conclusion).

    • Hi Ernie –

      Allen’s contract extension came in 2012, when Allen was being considered for an assistant coaching position at SMU under Larry Brown following Penn’s second-place Ivy finish that season. It wasn’t a middle finger salute, it was extending a coach who had already reached the peak of his tenure.

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