Allen initially took over as the program's head coach on an interim basis on Monday, Dec. 14 of this season; he led Penn -- 0-7 at the time of his promotion from assistant coach -- to a 6-15 record during his 21-game tenure, including a 5-9 mark in the Ivy League. The highlight win during Allen's interim tenure was the Quakers' 79-64 victory over then-No. 22 Cornell at The Palestra on February 12. That loss would be the Big Red's only one in league play this season, and last week their season ended in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16, the furthest an Ivy team had advanced in the tournament since Penn's 1979 run to the Final Four.
At the end of the season, sophomore guard Zack Rosen was voted a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection by the Ivy coaches -- the only non-senior named first team -- and also received second-team All-District honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Junior forward Jack Eggleston was a second-team All-Ivy honoree.
"Jerome's talents and accomplishments in life are noteworthy and familiar to the Penn community," said Bilsky. "What isn't as well known, until you spend time with him, is the humility that coincides with his pride. It is the combination of these qualities, plus his vision to return Penn to glory, that makes me so pleased to name him the John R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men's Basketball."
Allen is one of the most recognized names in Penn men's basketball history. A four-year starter, he led the Quakers to Ivy League titles in each of his last three seasons (1993-95), all of them coming via a perfect 14-0 conference mark. (Penn also won its final Ivy game in his freshman year, 1991-92, as well as its first five Ivy League games in 1995-96, giving the Red and Blue a 48-game Ivy winning streak that remains the conference record to this day.)
The 1992-93 squad went 22-5 overall, wresting the Ivy crown away from Princeton after the Tigers' four-year run before losing in the NCAA first round to Massachusetts. In 1993-94, Penn went 25-3 overall and earned an NCAA first-round victory over Nebraska before losing to Florida in the second round. In 1994-95, with Allen serving as team captain, Penn went 22-6 overall and again advanced to the NCAAs, losing to Alabama in overtime in the first round.
Allen was the Ivy League Player of the Year as a sophomore in 1992-93 -- sharing the honor with Columbia's Buck Jenkins -- and again as a junior in 1993-94, making him one of three Penn players to earn the honor twice. Allen also earned first-team All-Ivy and All-Philadelphia Big 5 three times apiece during his career.
(Allen is listed as a 2009 Wharton graduate because he left school following the 1994-95 season to pursue his pro career; following his retirement last year, Allen returned to Penn as an assistant coach but also completed his courseworkand received hisbachelor's degree this fall.)
When his Penn basketball career ended, Allen was the program's all-time leader in assists (504) and steals (166). He also scored 1,518 career points, which is currently sixth on Penn's all-time scoring list, and grabbed 482 career rebounds from his guard position.
Allen was inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame in February 2009.
Following his Penn career, Allen was a second-round draft pick of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves and spent two seasons in the NBA with Minnesota, Indiana and Denver. He then headed to Europe, where he enjoyed a stellar professional career before retiring at the end of the 2008-09 season.
Although this is Allen's first stint as a head coach at the college level, he is no stranger to life on the bench. The summer of 2007 he did an internship with the San Antonio Spurs, serving as an assistant coach on their summer league team that competed in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League and the Rocky Mountain Review in Salt Lake City, Utah. As part of that program, he participated in both practice instructing and game scouting.
In addition, last February Allen was awarded the head coaching position for Snaidero Basket (in Udine, Italy, roughly 45 minutes north of Venice), with whom he had previously played for four seasons. With that, he became the person in 15 years to be promoted to head coach while still actively playing in one of the top European leagues (Italy, Spain, Greece, Russia, France, Turkey). Over the course of Allen's four seasons playing with Snaidero, the team qualified for the Italian Cup for the first time in history. Allen also enjoyed two-year playing stints in both Rome and Napoli.
Locally to Philadelphia, in 1997 Allen founded an organization called Brothers Embracing Brothers (BEB). In an attempt to convey the message of neighborhood involvement, BEB established a men's basketball league. Over the years BEB evolved and began working directly with the neighborhood youth. With a new mission in place, Hood Enriched was formed with the objective to cultivate the academic and athletic attributes of inner-city youth. The goal was to encourage self-assessment and development. With proper support and implementation, the program asserted that it could bring forth accomplished students, confident athletes, and productive citizens.
Using the motto "expect to be exceptional," student-athletes were exposed to educational analysis exams and monitored thereafter. In addition, the summer job program allowed participants to develop proper workplace behavior. Finally, the program's basketball department fostered self-development within team structure. Emphasis was place upon mastering basic fundamentals in kid-friendly environments.
Through Hood Enriched, from 2003-05 Allen led summer basketball camps in Italy, with 36 kids from all parts of Philadelphia traveling to Latina, Rome, Bologna, Cessenatico, and Pesaro. These groups included current or former Division I players like Dionte Christmas (Temple), Parrish Grant (La Salle), Sammie Givens (Drexel), Shannon Givens (Drexel), Clayton Brothers (Hartford), Tywain McKie (Coppin State), Tamir Johnson (Central Conn.) and Khalif Foster (Robert Morris).
The Hood Enriched Summer Job Program also allowed four kids, over the course of four summers, the opportunity to work at City Hall for the Mayor's Action Center. And the program's Reading and Math Assessment, involving roughly 60 kids a year, made it a requirement once a week for the kids to attend both reading and math enrichment sessions. These classes were normally held on Saturday mornings.
Allen is a local product, having played his high school ball at Episcopal Academy. At Episcopal, he helped lead his team to four consecutive Inter-Academic League titles and was the Inter-Ac's MVP as a senior when the Churchmen went 27-2 overall.