GOOD LUCK GET TING CLEWISTON HEAD
coach Pete Walker to talk about himself. For him it’s
about as comfortable as having a root canal—well,
maybe more painful. But ask him about his coaching mentor—Clewiston legend Al Morrell—and he
lights up, and to a lesser degree he chokes up.
While Walker had a wonderful father at home,
he had a bonus dad in Morrell—who won 232
games at Clewiston from 1977-2001. Walker—
who is a coaching legend in his own right—is the
Tigers’ head coach now and has found his own
success by following much of what Morrell did.
We’ll call it the Golden Rule style of coaching.
Firm, disciplined and at the same time, loving.
“It’s almost hard to talk about him without get-
ting emotional,” Walker told FNF Magazine. “He
was like a father to me and I learned everything
about the game from him. Any success I’ve had I
attribute to him. He taught me about how to play
at a high level and to play your very based. To
be detail oriented and very organized. I tried to
pattern myself after him.”
There’s no question that someday down the
road, one of the young men Walker is coaching
today will say the same kinds of things about
Walker. He has been a massive success at four
Florida high school programs—winning three
state championships, 12 district titles and 155
games and is heading into his 18th year as a
Coaching in football crazed towns like Belle
Glade and Clewiston can be pressure-packed,
but Walker insists the greatest pressure comes
internally. Nobody is a bigger critic of Pete Walker
than Pete Walker.
The current Tigers coach is very comfortable
back home. He tried a year at Tallahassee powerhouse North Florida Christian, but it wasn’t a
good fit. He also coached at King’s Academy in
West Palm Beach and though he had success,
he missed his rural roots. His longest spans
have been in Belle Glade at Glades Day in
two stints, and also back in his hometown. He
returned in 2013.
“Really, I’m more of a homebody than anybody
realizes,” Walker said. “Being away from your
home and the people you know so well, there’s
just something about it. I like the rural small-town environment and the family feel of the
“I just feel like we have their trust here.”
Allen has led
the Tigers to 49
wins in just five
the playoffs yet.
LAKE CITY COLUMBIA
BRIAN ALLEN WAS A STUD LINEBACKER AT
Florida State, was one of the first 100 players
taken in the 2001 NFL Draft and played five
seasons in the league. Ranking right up with
those life experiences is the opportunity to coach
his high school alma mater—Florida powerhouse
Lake City Columbia.
Allen is going into his sixth season with the
Tigers. His program is coming off its best finish in
his tenure—a 12-2 record and a spot in the state
‘final four’ of football, the semifinals. He’s taken
the program to five straight playoff appearances
and 49 wins in five seasons.
He is loving it. In a town known for its passion
for the game and its expectation for excellence,
Allen has kept the fans quite happy.
“It absolutely was a dream come true,” Allen
told FNF Magazine, when asked about taking
the job in 2011. “When I decided that this was
the profession I wanted to be a part of, this was
something I hoped to do. It has to be the same
in the college game, like with Coach [Mark] Richt
getting to go back to the University of Miami. It’s
where the beginning took place.”
Sometimes Allen catches himself walking out
of the field house and having flashbacks. See,
in the first half of the 1990s, he was the one
running sprints on that field, and hitting, and
doing what the coaches said. He was also part of
playoff teams and district titles as a player.
Allen loves the brand of kid he gets to work
with. They’re receptive to discipline and hard
work, almost as if they expect it. While some
programs struggle to maintain order, order is
something Columbia has usually had on its side.
Columbia has had a lot of great coaches come
through over the years—Danny Green, Bobby
Simmons, Paul Quinn, Hobe Hoosier are just a
couple of them—and Allen is quickly making the
case to be mentioned as one of the best.
His approach is simple.
“I’ll take these rural kids who love discipline
and structure and organization all day,” Allen
said. “Some of the biggest compliments I get are
about how we do things. Just from the warmups,
that we’re so organized, it’s not freelanced. That
we have top prospects who act normal.
“Our kids are going to play for four quarters,
it’s part of their rural upbringing.”
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