Sonny Allen

Sonny Allen (born March 8, 1936)

Teams coached: Old Dominion Monarchs, SMU Mustangs, Nevada Wolfpack, Sacramento Monarchs
Old Dominion record^: 181-94 (.658)
SMU record: 61-77 (.442)
Nevada record: 114-89 (.562)
Overall record^: 356-260 (.578)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  2  (1984, 1985)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  0
  • Big Sky Regular Season Champion:  2  (1983, 1985)
  • Mason-Dixon (Div II) Conference Champion:  1  (1969)
  • Big Sky Tournament Champion:  2  (1984, 1985)
  • NCAA Division II National Championships:  1  (1975)   
  • NCAA Division II Tournament Appearances:  5  (1969, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975)
  • NCAA Division II Tournament Final Four:  2  (1971, 1975)


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1999-2000 Sacramento Monarchs
1998 Detroit Shock (asst)
1997-1998 Dallas Mavericks (asst)
1989-1990 Santa Barbara Islanders
1980-1987 Nevada
1975-1980 SMU
1965-1975 Old Dominion
1960-1965 Marshall (asst)

Sonny Allen Facts

  • Sonny Allen
  • Born March 8, 1936
  • Hometown: Moundsville, West Virginia
  • Alma Mater: Marshall University (BA, 1960)
  • The West Virginia-native played point guard at Marshall for head coach Jule Rivlin
  • Started coaching right after graduation, spending five years assisting at Marshall under Rivlin and Ellis Johnson
  • Hired in 1965 to be the head coach at Old Dominion, leading the Monarchs for ten seasons
    • Was 181-94 overall at ODU, which at the time was not yet a Division I program
    • Went to the NCAA College Division Tournament five times, reaching two Final Fours and winning the title in 1975
    • Inducted into the Old Dominion Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981
  • Made the jump up to the Division I ranks in 1975, becoming the head coach at SMU
    • Compiled a 61-77 record over five seasons but did not reach the postseason; named Southwest COY in 1976
  • Final collegiate head coaching job was at Nevada, where he went 114-89 in seven seasons
  • Was the first head coach of the defunct Las Vegas Silver Streaks of the (also-defunct) World Basketball League in 1988
  • Served as the only head coach of the Santa Barbara Islanders of the former CBA, going 37-19 during the 1989-90 season
  • After several years away from coaching, Allen became an assistant for Don Nelson with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks
  • Spent one year, the team’s inaugural 1998 season, as an assistant for Nancy Lieberman with the WNBA’s Detroit Shock
  • Last coaching position was in the WNBA, a two-season tenure as head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs
    • Went 40-24 overall, making the Playoffs both seasons (eliminated in the first round)

Sonny Allen Coaching Tree

  • Maura McHugh (Stony Brook (w), Sacramento Monarchs)
  • Oliver Purnell (DePaul, Clemson, Dayton, Old Dominion, Radford)
  • Charlie Woollum (William & Mary, Bucknell)


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the NCAA Division I and Division II levels only; note that Old Dominion was a College Division/D-II program during Allen’s tenure as head coach