LOCK HAVEN - The feeling hasn't sunk in yet.
In John Allen's words, life is going "100 miles per hour" right now.
Allen was named Monday morning as the new head coach of Lock Haven University football. One of three candidates brought in for an interview, Allen takes the place of former head coach John Klacik, who left the program in January to take a position as offensive coordinator at Miami of Ohio. In his six years as head coach, Klacik finished with a record of 5-60 including three consecutive losing seasons.
The past is the past, according to the new head coach.
Now, it's all about the future.
"We can't change the past," Allen said. "But we have control over the future, and that's what I have been stressing to everyone. We have some great people within the program, and some great people who want to be associated with the program. We have alumni that want to get involved, and see this football team succeed."
Lock Haven isn't a new surrounding for Allen.
In fact, the former LHU assistant in the late 90's has never left the Clinton County community. His family resides within the area, and has always been there - even when Allen took positions in NFL Europe and in his current spot as Director of Player Development at Penn State University.
Now, Allen gets the chance to turn the local program around.
"This community means a great deal to my family and I," Allen said. "We are raising two sons in this area, and they are starting to become involved with programs in the schools. My family is entrenched in this community, and I know Clinton County wants to see Lock Haven football be a successful program. It's going to take a lot of hard work and I know that. But we are ready, and we will put all the necessary work in."
Success has been few and far between for the Bald Eagles - on the gridiron, at least.
Currently, LHU has the nation's longest streak at 32 games - the longest among any division of the NCAA. The team's last winning season was nearly 30 years ago, and the last victory came in November 2007, 17-14, at Clarion in overtime.
Allen knows what the landscape of Lock Haven is all about.
Remember, he spent six seasons as an assistant coach before leaving for Bucknell and NFL Europe. In NFL Europe, he spent three seasons as an offensive coordinator, one year as a wide receiver coach and the 2007 season as head coach of the Berlin Thunder.
"I felt that I needed to leave Lock Haven then because I needed to develop as a coach," Allen said. "When I left, the program was winning nearly four games a season and we had some good players with outstanding talent still in the program. I just felt it was something I needed to do because I wanted to continue to develop my professional career, and I have. I feel that I am coming back to Lock Haven a more mature person with a better understand of everything that surrounds the game, not just the X's and O's."
No doubt, Allen is going to hit the ground running.
With almost the entire recruiting season gone, and spring ball right around the corner, a staff needs to be selected and time is needed to learn about his new team.
"We need to finish up some things from the winter, and we have to get a staff together here," Allen said. "That's the first step. We have to put together a staff of good, quality people. Then, we have to start transitioning into spring ball where we could establish some of our basic philosophies of offense and defense."
The LHU football coaching search, most would concur, had enough twists and turns to keep everyone on edge.
Three candidates were brought to campus.
Two of them, Christopher Newport head coach Matt Kelchner and former Northwestern standout Brett Basanez, both withdrew from the search last week.
"Sometimes, you never know what you are going to get from a college football search. Each one is unique," Allen laughed.
What Lock Haven gets in Allen is a solid individual with a great knowledge and understanding of the local football program.
"We had three outstanding final candidates with different strengths," LHU President Barbara B. Dixon said. "John brings experience, strong support from alumni, and a great love and enthusiasm for the football program at Lock Haven University. We are confident that he will do a great job leading LHU football."
Athletic director Sharon Taylor agreed.
"I think President Dixon captured the sentiments of those of us involved in the search process," said Taylor. "John brings a wealth of experiences and personal contacts to this position which should benefit our student-athletes. He is committed to LHU and we all need to do whatever we can to help him and the team be successful."
Right now, it's all about Lock Haven football for Allen.
Once the feeling sinks in.
"I'm thrilled," he said. "When I got the phone call, I was just so excited that I was chosen to lead the Lock Haven football program. I can't wait to get to work, and get started."