E.A. Sports Today

Back in the game

Former Wellborn coach, Weaver principal Allison picks up his whistle, will coach wrestling at high school in Florida
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
When Mike Allison put down his whistle to go into administration he always thought about getting back into coaching someday, but wasn’t sure if it would happen.


Well, it took moving out of state and getting back into teaching, but he’s back in the game.
The former Wellborn wrestling coach and retired Weaver principal will be back on the mat when schools open in Florida again, coaching wrestling at Arnold High School in Panama City Beach.
“It was always in the back of my mind one day if I retired,” he said Monday. “I always thought there was a chance I could do it but I was never 100 percent sure. I’m just glad I was able to make it work.
“I always stayed around athletics and coached my boys in youth sports after I got out of high school coaching. As a principal in Calhoun County you’re considered the athletics director so I was always involved with my kids.”
But as a principal – or any administrator – in Calhoun County he was prohibited from coaching.
Allison gave up his whistle to become principal at Weaver. He retired from the school system at the end of the 2019 calendar year and pulled up stakes for the Sunshine State.
He taught Special Ed at Tyndall Elementary School before everything shut down for the coronavirus pandemic. When schools reopen he will teach at nearby Rosenwald High School, an alternative school that has no athletics, and coach at Arnold, a school of about 1,550 students 10 minutes from the beach.
“They wanted me to coach football (offensive line), but right now I can’t coach varsity football because (son) Caleb’s playing (at Bethel University) and we’ll be traveling,” Allison said. “It’s about 10 hours away. There’s no way I could coach Friday night and get to his games.”
Allison is still getting his bearings on the way athletics operate in Florida. Arnold has as many students in the upper four grades as some of the largest schools in Alabama, but the Mighty Blue Marlin compete in wrestling’s smallest division of the Florida High School Athletic Association. It’s 5A in football and basketball.
He is hopeful of returning the program to some of the wrestling success his research has indicated it has had in the past; the team finished fifth in the state 2015 and 2017 and third in 2016. From his own resume, he was Weaver’s first individual state champion and he coached Wellborn to back-to-back 1A-4A state titles in 2005 and 2006 after a runner-up finish in 2004.
“I’m looking forward to it, I really am,” Allison said. “I’m a goal-oriented guy. I like to have goals. That’s something athletics does, it gives you something to work for. I think that’s a healthy part of just living, having goals and looking forward to checking those goals off and accomplishing things.”
One goal he is hoping to check off this coming season is bringing his team back to his old stomping grounds to wrestle in the two-day, 16-man bracket Gene Taylor Memorial Tournament in Weaver.
“We’re going to try,” Allison said. “Coach (Andy) Fulmer already has said I can come.”

“It would be cool to have a team from Florida come and wrestle at our tournament,” Fulmer said. “It’s going to be really competitive with a lot of solid 1A-4As and Alexandria. It should be one of the more competitive Gene Taylor tournaments as far as team points go.”

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