Rockford’s basketball coach Nick Allen and baseball coach Ian Hearn were invited to share a personal narrative of their team’s recent successes with the Rockford Lions Club. Both coaches guided their teams to state championship games last season with a similar coaching philosophy and style.
In Allen’s first year as the Rockford High School’s head basketball coach, he guided the Rams to conference, district, and regional championships before falling in a thrilling state final to Saginaw 54-42. Coach Hearn, in his sixth year as the varsity baseball coach, directed his players to a surprising state championship win against Temperance-Bedford 5-3.
Coaches Allen and Hearn gave much of the credit for their early success to family, players, and the community. Allen developed the motto “Build” by witnessing what his family accomplished through building a successful business. He stated that a great program and team is built through effort. Allen also mentioned that he was provided with players who have great character, attitudes, and smarts.
Coach Hearn established the motto “Get better every day.” He credits his players for buying into the idea of getting better every day on the ball field and getting better every day in the classroom and society. Hearn also credits the Rockford community for its support of high school athletics for his team’s success and is one of the major reasons he came to Rockford.
Born and raised in Rockford, Allen graduated from Rockford High School and went on to Western Michigan University where he earned degrees in political science and education. He is currently teaching social science classes at East Rockford Middle School. Allen said he approaches everyday with a purpose centered on the importance of helping others feel valued. He also feels his role as a basketball coach is to help the team learn, not disrupt, and never back down.
Coach Hearn was a three sport high school athlete and ended up wrestling and playing baseball at Central Michigan University. Besides spending ten years at Traverse City Central in capacities as Athletic Director and head baseball coach, Coach Hearn spent time as an associate scout for the Baltimore Orioles. Hearn found out his oldest boy, Ian, needed heart surgery during the time his team was marching their way to a state championship. The baseball players offered support for Coach Hearn and his son by wearing blue bracelets during the remaining games. The surgery went well, and the players recognized Ian’s courage by giving him the bracelets after winning the title game. Coach Hearn has been adding one word to his “building blocks for success” every year since his first season at Rockford. Last season’s word was fittingly “Together”.