Allison navigates transition from basketball assistant to golf head coach


Courtesy App State Athletics

Before taking over this year as App State’s interim head men’s golf coach, Jason Allison (center) spent six years as an assistant on the Mountaineers’ men’s basketball coaching staff.

Cameron Burnett, Visual Managing Editor

After the spring season was cut short for App State’s men’s golf team, the program needed a new head coach after Danny Forshey resigned.

App State Athletic Director Doug Gillin reached out to Jason Allison, who was then an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team, and had been for six years. Allison has history as a head golf coach at both Lees-McRae College and King College.

Allison took the job in June and immediately reached out to players and began bringing them together as a team in a sport based on individual scoring.

“I try to bring the team concept to the whole thing,” Allison said. “That’s the difference… the team was ranked 27th according to Golfweek, it wasn’t one individual, it was our team.”

Having a history of coaching basketball at App State, some of the strategies Allison used have transitioned into his position with the golf team.

“We’re having a unique program this year. We’re separated into two groups, and like in basketball, we play each other in matches,” Junior Timothius Tirto Tamardi said. “Everytime we play each other, we gain a point, and it’s building the team effort and being a part of the team so you have to be responsible for helping your team win.”

When Allison joined the basketball staff, he was a part of a team that wasn’t accustomed to much winning.  After last year’s 18 wins, the most in a decade, the basketball program seems to be on the right track.

“I feel like I helped in some way to establish the program and help get App State basketball back on track and to respectable grounds,” Allison said.

During this first fall season as the head golf coach, Allison has led the team to three top-three finishes, and he says the team is proud but not yet satisfied.

“We’re looking to pull off a win or two and finish higher. The guys know they have the ability to do it, and it’s just getting the five or six on the same page and having a great weekend,” Allison said.

Although winning is at the forefront, Allison believes it’s only a small part of his job as a coach, and he wants to have a lasting impact on his players on and off the course.

“You hope that you can impact lives in a positive manner and for 15 to 18 years as a basketball coach, giving away a full scholarship and changing someone’s lives for the better was very important,” Allison said. “We get into coaching for competition, but we get into it to be around people and to help other people. That’s the way I look at it.”

In just under four months, Allison has already created a great relationship with his players, especially Tamardi.

“He’s kind of like a father to all of us because he cares about our grades, manners, and ethics off the course. It’s not just about golf for him,” Tamardi said.

After being in Boone for more than half a decade, Allison has connected with the community. Stepping up into a head coaching role at App State for the first time, he made the transition quickly and understands the importance of his responsibility.

“It’s a big responsibility. It might not have the same spotlight as other sports, but at the same time, you’re still responsible,” Allison said. “It doesn’t matter what sport you’re coaching at App State, it’s looked at as a big deal in my opinion.”