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Howard Fires Allen After 23-Loss Season

Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page D02

Howard fired men's basketball coach Frankie Allen yesterday after he went 52-83 in five seasons at the school.

The Bison, which lost, 80-56, to Florida A&M in the play-in round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament on Monday, finished the season on a 17-game losing streak. Howard (5-23, 2-16 MEAC), with six sophomores and three freshmen on its roster, recorded its fewest wins in five seasons.

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"This was a very difficult decision for the university," Howard Director of Athletics Sondra Norrell-Thomas said. "Coach Allen has done some wonderful things during his tenure at Howard. However, our men's basketball program has not been at the level we expected, and a change in leadership at this time best positions us for success. We feel strongly that our men's basketball program needs to go in a different direction, and it was obvious to me that the change had to be made now."

Allen, a former head coach at Virginia Tech and Tennessee State, led Howard to a 10-18 record his first season -- the most wins by the program in a decade. Before Allen's arrival, the Bison had won a total of three games in the previous two seasons. In 2001-02, the Bison went 18-13 and finished third in the MEAC, their best record in 10 years. Howard advanced to the MEAC tournament title game, making its first championship appearance since 1992. The Bison have not won a regular season or tournament title the past 13 years.

Norrell-Thomas is in the process of forming a search committee to select the next coach.

"I couldn't give you a timetable," Norrell-Thomas said. "We know it's important to have a coach in place. We're going to do what's best for the university."

-- Kathy Orton

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