UT Dallas Magazine: Alumna Tackles Sports Stereotypes
If horse racing is the sport of kings, then football is the sport of Texans. While the state’s love for the game can be endearing, the Texas football scene has been a “guy thing.” There is no shortage of women working to support teams. But on the field dealing with the X’s and O’s? That’s typically been left to the men.
Desireé Allen BS'99
Until now. Desireé Allen BS’99 is crashing one of the most exclusive clubs in the state.
Name a mainstream sport and odds are that Allen (formerly Desireé Squire) has played it, coached it or would be game for trying it. Before starring on the UTD soccer field, she excelled at basketball and track and field in high school. She’s also coached those sports, along with volleyball, at various times.
Allen is a high school football coach, now in her third season with North Dallas High School. While she loved sports, football never appealed to her.
“I’m not going to lie — it was boring to me,” she said. “I just couldn’t get into it because I didn’t know or understand the rules.”
Her interest began when a friend suggested she try football. Not long afterward, during a training session for video coordinators, Allen met Tonnell Wilson, who was then the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Diamonds women’s pro team. He invited her to try out. Allen thought, “Why not?” That was all it took; she loved it.
Allen is now in her sixth season as a player, the past three of which she has spent with the Dallas Elite as a wide receiver, defensive back and kicker.
After making it to the championship game three years in a row, the Elite won the 2017 Women’s Football Alliance title. Allen also has attended the Women’s World Football Games during the NFL’s Pro Bowl festivities. The event gathers women players from around the world to practice, learn from coaches and compete.
“I got so much out of the practices,” she said. “I could take that back to my players and show them how to do certain things.”
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Allen’s path to coaching began at UT Dallas. She was an assistant coach with the women’s basketball team after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. After a stint at Winfree Academy Charter School, Allen joined the Dallas Independent School District and eventually landed at Lincoln High School. Allen helped coach the track and field squad. And the soccer team. And the volleyball team. And she was the video coordinator for the football team and the boys basketball team.
Then about three years ago, Charles Moss called. Moss, who was head football coach of North Dallas High School, needed a defensive backs coach. Allen agreed to come aboard.
Allen has spent three seasons with the team, the past two with Moss’ successor, Fred Johnson. While working with the defensive backs in 2017, Allen was also the co-coordinator for special teams.
“We managed to not have a single point scored on our special teams unit,” she said. “I’ve wanted to coach a boys sport. Guys are always coaching girls sports. I could do it just as well and if I wanted to be an athletic coordinator, I needed to know more football.”
Allen, who was named a 2018 Trailblazer Award recipient by the South Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club, aspires to move up the ladder, but she isn’t dead set on any position.
“I just want to be involved in sports,” she said, “whether as an athletic coordinator or a director. As long as I’m connected to athletics in some capacity, I’ll be happy.”
During a recent episode of Undercover Boss, former pro football player Deion Sanders disguised himself and met various individuals in the Dallas area, including Allen. At the end of the show, Sanders provided some assistance to Allen and some of the others he had met during filming.
Read more and see the video clip on the UT Dallas Magazine Blog.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].