After spending just one season as head football coach of the Hallsville Bobcats, Tommy Allison is headed to Waco where he was named offensive coordinator of the Waco Midway Panthers.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Allison said. “It was something I wasn’t even looking at. I got a phone call Sunday night that the Midway Waco (head coaching) job had just been filled and one thing led to another. My two boys live in Waco. My oldest son and my daughter-in-law live there and my youngest son is there. We’re empty nesters. I was at Robinson for nine years and Waco Midway is a great school district. They’re a great school district, 2,500 kids in the high school. They’ve had a ton of success and ultimately the opportunity to be where my boys are, to go to church in the morning with my boys and my daughter-in-law was too good to pass up. Like I said though, it’s bitter sweet. These kids here have worked so hard and come so far. It’s phenomenal what great kids are here and that’s what’s made it so hard.”
“Tommy was 100 percent transparent in his intentions when he went to look at it,” Hallsville athletic director Cody Farrell said. “Midway sought him out. It wasn’t anything that Tommy had applied for. That happens in our profession. You work it a long time and you do a good job, people are going to call you to try and better their staffs. It wasn’t a shock that somebody called and asked for his services but he was transparent and I knew that he was going to down there and when he came back, I knew it was a possibility.
"“My initial reaction is I’m disappointed,” Farrell said of the moment he heard the news from Allison. “When we hired him, we thought he was the right guy for the job and I still do. There’s some strong ties to Waco for him to go back, and we respect his decision to go back.”
Allison met with the Hallsville football players Thursday morning to give them the news.
“That was a hard, hard conversation, a lot of tears shed,” Allison said.
“One of his greatest strengths when he was here was his relationship with the kids,” Farrell offered. “He really did a good job with that, a phenomenal job. So it was tough for those kids. They bought into Tommy. They loved him. They were disappointed today.”
Allison departing gives Hallsville a small window of opportunity to find his replacement but Farrell said the decision won’t be taken lightly.
“You obviously don’t want to rush and make a brass decision that turns out to be the wrong decision but you also have the natural human resources, the state of Texas TEA guidelines that say 45 days from the start of school, they won’t let them out of their contracts,” Farrell explained. “There’s a date and that date is plus or minus one or two around the Fourth of July. So in order to find somebody, you’ve got that hard date that TEA says if you sign a contract and go past that date, you can’t leave. So we’ve got that date on one side and we’ve got the other idea that we don’t want to go too fast and make a foolish decision and not do the right diligence.”
“The timing of it is not good,” Allison said. “It’s not. I hate it for that reason and I’m sorry for that. Coach Farrell has been a great athletic director. He has given us everything we needed and I’m sorry I put him in the situation I have but at the end of the day, the opportunity to be with family and was a great opportunity to pass up.”
Allison will have an opportunity to coach with Shane Anderson who officially took over the head coaching job and Waco Midland this past Monday.
“First of all, I think he’s one of the top offensive minds in the state of Texas and obviously he’s been a head coach so he knows what that’s all about as well,” Anderson said. “Tommy and I went against each other when he was at Robinson and I was the head coach at Connally. We were in the same district so we had gotten to know each other over the last six years and went against each other for five of those six years. He’s a super great guy, a super great coach. We’re just excited to have him on board with us here at Midway.”
“We were both in the same district for years,” Allison added. “We were fortunate to beat them and they beat us. He’s a defensive guy and I’m an offensive guy so he called me out of the blue Monday after he got the job and one thing led to another and next thing you know, here we are today. That part is exciting to be able to work with him and to lead the offense there at Midway is exciting.
Anderson and Allison will take over a Waco Midway program that went 3-7 overall and 2-3 in District 11-6A.
Allison entered the 2020 season with an overall record of 92-60 as a head football coach. Due to COVID-19, his Bobcats were only able to play six games where they went 0-6 and were forced to forfeit three games.
Prior to landing in Hallsville, Allison made stops as head coach in Cayuga, Jacksboro and Waco Robinson. He made the postseason eight times in 13 years, won a couple district championships in addition to a state championship.
“He’s actually from Palestine, that’s where he grew up but his wife is from the (Waco) area,” Anderson said. “His two boys are here in Waco and he spent nine or 10 years at Robinson as the head coach so this is home for him.”
“I wish him the best of luck,” Farrell said of Allison. “He did it the right way.”
“I’m telling you, great things are happening at Hallsville,” Allison added. “These kids have come so far. I can’t wait to see what they do next year, I really can’t.”