Head coach Jerome Allen will be let go by Penn when the season comes to an end, a source told NBCSports.com.
Allen, a graduate of Penn, has been the head coach since December of 2009. He was named the interim coach after Glen Miller was fired in the middle of the 2009-2010 season. He lead the Quakers to the CBI in 2012, finishing 11-3 in the Ivy, good for second in the league.
But Allen has not been able to replicate that success. He’s failed to reach double-figures in wins the last three seasons, and is just 8-18 overall and 3-9 in the Ivy with two games left in the regular season.
Allen is 64-103 overall and 37-45 overall in the Ivy in his tenure.
As a player, Allen was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year. He was a second round pick in the 1995 NBA Draft.
Following a visit last week, Northfield Mount Hermon School (Massachusetts) 2015 guard Jackson Donahue committed to Penn. His coach, John Carroll announced the commitment through the program’s Twitter account on Thursday night.
Donahue, the 6-foot-1 Connecticut native, was being courted by other Ivy League schools before picking the Quakers. This past weekend at the Providence Jam Fest, I spoke to Donahue after he dropped 27 points in a win for his Middlesex Magic AAU team. He had recently returned from Penn, leaving the visit with positive vibes from the coaching staff and about the school.
Donahue is a sharpshooter, hitting 92 3-pointers in his first season at NMH. During the Jam Fest, Donahue began to drive to the basket, something coaches were looking to see more from him. Despite his lack of size, he’s a competitor, the product of being one of the younger brothers in a large basketball family. His older brother, Sam, is a rising sophomore at Boston College.
Nat Graham, who was named as an assistant coach at Penn last week, was part of the BC staff that recruited his brother. That familiarity made an instant impact on Jackson Donahue’s recruitment.
Within the last week, Penn has added two pieces to its Class of 2015, the first being Lower Merion High (Pennsylvania) forward Jule Brown, who committed on May 8. They join Hebrew Academy (Florida) point guard Morris Esformes, who pledged back in March.
To say that Jerome Allen’s Penn Quakers had a rough go of it prior to the start of Ivy League play would be an understatement. The Quakers entered Saturday’s game against Princeton with a 2-10 record, with five of the defeats being decided by margins of six points or less. But there is talent on the Penn roster, with that moving the league coaches to pick the Quakers to finish second in the Ivy League’s preseason poll.
So despite their struggles, especially from a health standpoint, Saturday’s Ivy opener against rival Princeton represented a “new beginning” of sorts for the Quakers, and they were able to take advantage. Tony Hicks scored 18 points and Fran Dougherty and Darren Nelson-Henry added 17 apiece to lead Penn to the 77-74 victory at the Palestra, ending a seven-game losing streak in the process.
T.J. Bray led five Princeton players in double figures with 19 points, but their 6-for-21 shooting from beyond the arc and defensive rebounding (Penn rebounded nearly 39% of its missed shots) proved to be problematic for the team that was picked to finish third in the Ivy League preseason poll. With the defeat Princeton drops to 11-3 overall, but by no means should they be dismissed as a possible challenger to reigning champion Harvard.
Penn certainly has some things to clean up, most notably their 19 turnovers on the evening, but the full rotation Allen expected to have on the floor was finally available Saturday. Could their improved health make Penn the Ivy League threat they were projected to be back in October? That remains to be seen, but Saturday’s victory is certainly a step in that direction.