Large crowd pays final tribute to Allen

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Since its highly anticipated opening in the late 70s, UNCW’s aquatic facility has been known as the Seahawk Natatorium. Everything changed late Friday.

With a large crowd, including several hundred swimming and diving alumni, UNCW officials officially renamed the facility the David B. Allen Natatorium, honoring legendary head coach Dave Allen.

Allen’s name has become synonymous with UNCW’s swimming and diving program after an ultra-successful 37-year career full of impressive accomplishments. Allen served as the program’s head coach from 1977 to 2014.

A native of Rochester, NY, Allen has coached teams to 542 dual-competition wins at three institutions. Prior to UNCW, where he set a 494-356 record in 37 seasons, he coached one season at Allegheny College and then six at Potsdam State. While at UNCW, Allen coached 15 All-Americans, 155 conference champions and 19 ECAC winners.

Allen created the UNCW program in 1977-78 and it flourished. He led the UNCW men’s and women’s teams to 16 combined Colonial Athletic Association championships, as well as two Eastern titles.

Allen led the men to an impressive streak of 13 consecutive CAA men’s titles from 2002 to 2014 and also coached the women to three championships, including back-to-back crowns in 1998 and 1999, and the CEAC titles in 1997 and 1988.

Allen has collected 15 CAA Coach of the Year awards – 10 for the league’s top men’s coach and five for his success with the women’s program.

During his distinguished career, Allen sent six Seahawk swimmers to NCAA championships and numerous student-athletes earned All-CAA honors and other major accolades.

Allen is a member of four elite groups. He was inducted into the Potsdam State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997, the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, the North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame in 2019, and the UNCW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2020.

Allen announced his retirement on March 13, 2014, after coaching 44 years at the collegiate level and officially resigned from UNCW on June 30, 2014.

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