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'The time to do it is now': Allmendinger resigns as Gregory football coach after 11 years, three state titles

GREGORY--Coaching football has been Brian Allmendinger's "thing" for nearly two decades at Gregory High School. Allmendinger served as an assistant for the Gorillas for eight seasons before taking the reins of the program in 2008, leading Gregory...

Gregory's Brian Allmendinger, left, gives instructions to quarterback Coy Determan during the 2018 season. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Gregory's Brian Allmendinger, left, gives instructions to quarterback Coy Determan during the 2018 season. (Matt Gade / Republic)

GREGORY-Coaching football has been Brian Allmendinger's "thing" for nearly two decades at Gregory High School.

Allmendinger served as an assistant for the Gorillas for eight seasons before taking the reins of the program in 2008, leading Gregory to 82 wins in 11 years, including 28 consecutive wins and three Class 9AA state championships in four seasons from 2014 to 2017.

Yet, after his stepson died from an overdose in Pennsylvania the night before the 2017 state championship game, Allmendinger had been leaning toward spending more time with his family, and after long consideration, he opted to resign from his post as Gregory football and golf coach on Sunday to take a job as a teacher and assistant coach at Milbank.

"I won't lie and say there wasn't any anxiety," Allmendinger said. "I've been here for a while and I could have continued to be here for the rest of my days. It's going to be a major life change, but all of our kids are grown and we don't have any family here."

Allmendinger admitted that he came close to resigning following the 2017 season, but a variety of factors drove him to stay for another season. One of the reasons was a desire to coach this most recent crop of seniors for one last season.

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There were also personal reasons that led Allmendinger to stay one more season that he prefers to keep private, but coaching the Gorillas to a 7-3 record-falling to eventual state champion Bon Homme, 14-12, in a quarterfinal nailbiter-helped him realize he simply would not be able to entirely walk away from coaching.

"It's been something that I've really enjoyed having in my life," Allmendinger said. "Some people go hunting and fishing, and I coach football. I like that environment and I like working with kids. ... It would have been really hard for me to step away completely."

Moving to Milbank not only gives Allmendinger a chance to live roughly 100 miles from his twin daughters and four grandchildren in Aberdeen, but he can also continue to satisfy his passion for coaching in a small capacity, along with continuing his career as a U.S. history, government and civics teacher.

He is set to move into the position of assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the Class 11A Bulldogs and head coach Adolph Shepardson, who edged Allmendinger's Gorillas in the playoffs during his run to the 2012 9AA state championship as the then-coach of Deubrook Area.

"It will be a switch and a change, but I think I'll be all right," Allmendinger said. "I think (Shepardson) is going to use some of my experiences and strengths, so I'll still be a valuable part of that. My goal now is to help those guys be successful, make the playoffs and maybe play for a state championship."

While Allmendinger is looking forward to moving into a new position that is more accommodating to his family, there was some apprehension about tendering his resignation-which was not official until Monday's school board meeting-after 19 years and uprooting his life to head down a new, but unknown avenue.

"Any time you change jobs, it's meeting new people and getting into a routine," Allmendinger said. "But the flipside to that is I don't know what it was, but something was telling me the time to do it is now."

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