Troy Allen has stepped down after three seasons as State College Area High School's head baseball coach, leading the Little Lions to District 6 titles each of the past two seasons.
Allen said on Monday that he tendered his resignation about a week and a half ago because, "I just got worn down on State College baseball politics."
"This is one of the most political towns from a baseball perspective that I’ve ever been around, and on the softball side too," he said. "I just got tired of it... I’m better suited worrying about the kids I train instead of having to worry about kids whose parents want my head on a silver platter."
Allen said he became frustrated by parents who he said complained that their sons didn't make the team because they didn't train with him separately at Own the Plate, a private baseball training academy he has owned since before becoming State High's head coach in late 2015. He said such claims were unfounded.
"It wasn’t so much playing time. One of the complaints you hear all the time is that it’s pay-to-play, because there are kids that I train," he said. "Every year I’ve been the head coach there the team has been predominantly players I don’t train [at Own the Plate]. But when [someone's] kid doesn’t make the team, then there’s gotta be some motive behind it other than the kid just wasn’t good enough. You hear it all the time. It just gets old."
He added that his frustrations weren't with his Little Lion teams.
"I truly loved being the coach at State High and I feel like we had more to do," he said. "I’m more annoyed the obnoxiousness got to me than anything else. But I can be happier doing other things. I loved coaching at the high school. I loved the team, the culture we built there. I thank the players for that. I asked a lot of them and they gave me everything I asked for."
The Little Lions missed the PIAA playoffs in Allen's first season in 2016 but reached the state semifinals in 2017. After winning a second consecutive district title in 2018, State College saw its season come to a bizarre end in the PIAA subregional. Though the Little Lions finished the game ahead on the scoreboard against Erie McDowell, they were forced to forfeit over a disputed pitch count that saw a State High pitcher go over the limit.
Allen played in the Atlanta Braves organization after being drafted out of George Washington University. Before taking the job at State High, he coached Saint Joseph's Catholic Academy for one season, leading the Wolves to the district playoffs in the program's first year.
State College Area School District posted the advertisement for a new varsity baseball head coach on Monday.
“Last week, Coach Allen submitted his resignation. His time here has been marked by great success and we appreciate all that he has done for the program these past several years," Athletic Director Chris Weakland said in a statement. "We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Parent Steve Kraycik said he was disappointed to learn of Allen's resignation. Kraycik's son, Ryan, recently completed his senior year at State High, having played the past two seasons as an outfielder and pitcher on the varsity team and more than five years on various travel teams coached by Allen.
"Troy is an excellent baseball coach and our family is disappointed to see him stepping down. His coaching and mentoring helped our son to become a better baseball player, which set the stage for Ryan to play ball at Penn State Altoona," Steve Kraycik said. "Troy brought a lot of college and pro baseball knowledge to State College and his record here spoke for itself-- two straight district titles and a run to the state playoff semifinals. We've always found him to be a fair coach to everyone and he continues to send a number of players to college teams, so clearly his system, philosophies and coaching work well."