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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Katie Beth Pate Allen was looking for a Christian college and Lipscomb University proved to be the right answer for her. She helped make history with the 2003-2004 Lady Bisons basketball team who won the Atlantic Sun Conference title for the first time and also became the first team to make the NCAA Tournament in women's basketball in the program's first year of eligibility. Allen was named A-Sun Tournament MVP. After playing and coaching at Lipscomb she decided to enter the business world where she works for Southern Hospitalists. She earned her bachelor's degree in 2006 and her Master's in Education in May 2008. She graciously took some time out of her busy schedule this week to talk with lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play basketball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played from 2002 through 2006. Frank Bennett was my head coach. The assistants were Coach Billy Snell and Coach Cheryl Smith. Julie Bigler was the graduate assistant. Franklin Bennett was G.A. for two years after Julie."
Why did you decide to attend Lipscomb?
"My grandfather, Thomas Pate, played basketball at Lipscomb way back in the day. My uncle went to Lipscomb. My father went there for a little while but he didn't graduate from Lipscomb.
"I went to Greater Atlanta Christian School. I had heard very good things about Lipscomb. I really wanted to go to a Christian school, but Lipscomb was not my first choice. I was going to Harding because I wasn't as familiar with Lipscomb as I was with Harding. But Harding turned me down. They said I wasn't good enough to play there.
"Lipscomb sent me a letter. I started talking with coach Snell, coach Bennett and Cheryl. I visited and really liked what I saw. When they offered me I took them up on it. Lipscomb was where I was supposed to be.
"When I heard the school was going NCAA Division I and after my freshman year I would have a chance to compete for the NCAA Tournament was a plus. I grew up watching `March Madness'. It is a dream for every kid to do that.
"I liked Harding. It is a great school. My mother-in-law works there. But it definitely worked out for the best for me. I wouldn't trade my time at Lipscomb for anything."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"My freshman year I was not very offensive-minded. In high school I didn't have to score a lot for us to be successful. At Lipscomb they asked me to become more of an offensive player which was really out of my comfort zone. The biggest thing my freshman year was trying to get me to score.
"We were at SEMO and they had drawn up a play for me to take the last shot of the first half. I did not. I kicked the ball out. The buzzer went off. And coach Bennett came charging to center court towards me. All I see of my teammates are their jerseys running to the locker room and abandoning me.
"I called my mom after the game and said I am on my way home right now.
"I had done the same thing the game before at Ole Miss. We had a chance to beat them at their place. They wanted me to take the shot that would have won the game. But I kicked it out.
"Everyone thinks coach Bennett is a really nice, and he is really nice. But he is also very competitive. At SEMO was the first time I really got to feel his competitive fire.
"Winning the A-Sun title was a great experience and being able to the NCAA Tournament was very cool and something that I will always cherish.
"But I was blessed to play with some really great teammates. I wouldn't trade one of them. My fondest memories are things I did with them like road trips. We got to go to Hawaii while I was playing. That was very, very cool. I had never been there before.
"Good memories…good memories."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Coach Bennett and Coach Snell. Playing for them they saw me being a lot better than I saw myself on the floor. They thought that I was capable of a lot more than I thought I was.
"It is a compliment when coaches as good as they were see something in you…that you can be that great.
I worked with them for six years as a graduate assistant and as an assistant coach. It was great to have the chance to work with them. How lucky and fortunate I was to play for them.
"Coach Bennett is such a rare treasure. One of my friends played at another Division I school that I won't name, but it was a very, very good school.
"Her coach was a very nice man. But he would cuss her out for little mistakes.
'"Coach Bennett would let you know that you weren't doing what he expected of you, but he would never beat you down as a person. He did everything in his power to make sure you were appreciated as a person. He made sure that you had everything at your disposal to succeed.
"Being able to work with him showed me just how much he genuinely cared about the players he coached. He wanted his players to be successful on the floor, but he also wanted them to be just as successful off of the floor as Christians. That was his top priority, without a doubt."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"I ran around a lot with my Sarah Woods, my roommate, and Cam Robinson and James Poindexter from the men's basketball team.
"Anytime the four of us were together it was a great time.
"I was in the freshman class with Sarah, Karli Osborn and Lindsey Mooney. We were close as a class. Any time we went to get food or just hung out and watched movies we had fun."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"Watching Coach Bennett and how solid he is with himself and with his faith. Greg Brown (current Lady Bisons basketball coach) does the same thing with the `Bison Way'. You leave stuff better than you found it. You do the next right thing. You forget past mistakes and go on to the next best thing that you can do.
"They are minor, little lessons but at the same time they shape exactly who you are. To have it instilled in you every day by doing those little things makes you into a completely great man. Look at Coach Don Meyer. That is why he was such a great man. He followed that `Pyramid of Success'.
"Being able to watch Coach Bennett and have it instilled into me that winning is important but there are bigger things was great.
"When I quit coaching he told me, `I wish you absolutely the best. How can I help you do the best thing for you?'"
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"That's easy - Trish Hodgson. Not only was she one of my professors, but she was also my advisor. She was just the greatest.
"I was a physical education major. She taught us all we had to know. She made it fun. She made it interesting. But it was challenging too.
"As an advisor you would walk in and she would have your schedule laid out. It was perfect. You would sign a piece of paper and move on.
"I would also say Dr. Richard Jones. He was a very good professor for me in education classes. I had him for some master's level classes as well.
"He really, genuinely cared about you as a student. He wanted to see you succeed. Most of the professors at Lipscomb, if they know you are a women's basketball player, will try to help you succeed. It is always appreciated."
Where do you live now?
"I live in Nashville."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I work for Southern Hospitalists. I recruit physicians for hospitals. A hospitalist is the doctor who takes care of you in a hospital when your primary care doctor is not available."
Tell us about your family.
"I am married to Adam Allen."
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.