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Looking to turn around its floundering football program, which won just a single game this fall, Christ the King is going pro — with its next coaching staff.
The Queens school tabbed math teacher Tyree Allison, a Queens product and former Hofstra star who briefly played in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, last week as its next coach replacing Chris Higgins. Former CK star Willie Poole, who enjoyed stints with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs, will serve as the team’s wide receivers and defensive backs coach. Adding to the star-studded staff will be defensive coordinator Neil O’Donnell, the Queens Falcons president.
“We’re trying to concentrate on making it an elite program,” athletic director Joe Arbitello said. “There’s talent in the building and with the experience of NFL guys [as coaches], we think we can be competing at the highest level within two or three years.”
Allison, 35, doesn’t plan on rebuilding. His motto is to “patch up the holes,” not start from scratch. His goal is play the city’s best eventually.
“I wouldn’t take this position if I didn’t think anything but that,” he said. “My hope is to take us to the next level. We got to start by winning, and the second you start winning, everybody will come to see you.”
The first step, Allison said, is changing the attitude around the program and establishing accountability. The team will work out three days per week in the offseason. Absences or lateness won’t be accepted.
He wants his players to be mentally tough, passionate and the hardest workers in the league — qualities he sees in his coaching staff.
“You have two NFL guys on the staff; a lot of players will look up to us,” he said. “Most of these players I have as students and they see how I operate. If I can motivate in the classroom, I can motivate them on the football field.”
Though this is Allison’s first head-coaching job, he has plenty of experience. After his playing days were over, the Beach Channel graduate spent time as an assistant coach at C.W. Post and Stony Brook on the collegiate level and at Long Island high schools West Hempstead and West Islip.
“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “Being a teacher at the school and getting a chance to coach these students, I’m really, really pumped up about the whole situation.”
In addition to the new staff’s on-field and coaching experience is an endless rolodex of contacts. Allison, who is good friends with former Hofstra teammate and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Raheem Morris, helped former standout Terrel Hunt land a full scholarship to Syracuse and he is also overseeing the recruitment of standout tight end Kalief Joyner.
Despite poor on-field performances, Christ the King has produced a number of Division I athletes in recent years. Plus, the freshmen team is coming off a 6-2 campaign, one of its best years ever. Allison plans for the varsity to soon match that kind of success.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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