The Bearkat 80’s. Mullets and tight baseball uniforms run alongside the 80’s, but someone who left an equally indelible impression on the players was Coach Herbert Allen. Coach Allen was his name to the players and no one dared to call him Herb. He exhibited a special affection and patience for those who worked hard, and for those who did not always work hard…well he always had some special words and anecdotes for them.
First we’ll cover the uniforms. The 80’s brought some flare onto the baseball field. Blue and Gold was never so brightly displayed--- from the Blue jersey over bright yellow/gold pants to the gold jersey over bright Royal blue pants. We even had Bearkat gold baseball caps with a blue "K" large enough to cover the front face of the cap.
Speaking of uniforms, Coach Allen had his own spin of “represent Ole Klein High on the Diamond.” On any given day, Coach Allen’s zipper would be down and no one dared to let him know. But, one evening in the dugout in 1984 while waiting on our pre-game introductions against Jersey Village, David Hays decided to provide a unique impersonation of Coach Allen to our crew in the dugout. First, Coach Allen was leaning against the dugout fence with one arm on the post and one hand his hip. His shirt was already untucked in the back, his leggons askew, hat was rightly crooked, and of course his fly was wide open. Well, David got everyone’s attention and took his position mimicking Coach Allen by leaning against the pole located behind Coach Allen. David partially untucked his shirt, unzipped his baseball pants, made his hat crooked, and placed his other hand on his hip. Without 10 seconds of stifled laughter, Coach Allen turned around sooner than David expected and saw him. Coach Allen put his hands on both hips and said, “BOY! What the hell is matter with you? Doesn’t your momma know how to dress you? You’re a damn fool, BOY. Surely your brothers are smarter than you. You must have lost your mind – what the hell, Gary, uh David, fix your uniform before I bench your ass!”
That is just one of dozens of stories capturing Coach Allen. His most popular term he coined was, "God-Dog Boy!” in a voice only a handful of former players have been able to master. Just as often as he would say god-dog boy, he would butcher the name of any player who had a sibling who had played ball for the Bearkats.
Offensively, a player just did not want to miss a signal from Coach Allen. Once, one of our players missed the bunt sign, took a strike, stepped out then looked down the third base line at Coach Allen for his encouraging words or another signal. Coach Allen put his hands on his hips, let out a deep sigh, put his hands in the air palms-up and said, “BOY, what the hell are you looking down here at me for? You already missed the sign, he gave you the pitch, our runner was going and you should have bunted. So you better NOW bunt and get our runner to third.” Everyone gasped and fear took our hitter’s eyes. Everyone on the field knew the play. The third baseman for Cy-Fair looked at Coach Allen in disbelief and Coach Allen said, “Don’t you eyeball me, BOY. He’s about to bunt so you better start charging right now!” There was not a missed signal on our team over the next two years.
Coach Allen uniquely displayed his richness for how he felt about winning and losing streaks. Our first game, Coach Allen somehow forgot to put on his white sanitary socks under his leggings. Back then everyone wore their pants to the knee, similar to that of Hunter Pence. So there was Coach Allen with his legs showing for all to see and his pants pushed up to just below his knees. We won that game, and he decided to not wear socks until we lost -- which took about 3 weeks. After that brief winning streak, we hit a losing streak. Coach Allen ordered plain blue ball caps with no K on them. We had to wear those for the rest of the season since he said that we no longer deserved the right to wear a K on our hat.
He had a great deal of pride seeing the players and the program improve. As hard as he was on us, he was the first one to greet us after a good play or big hit. He praised our good play every chance he got, especially to those who worked hard on the game and enjoyed being out there.
The 80’s enjoyed other coaches who made their mark on the program like Coach Bradshaw and Coach Yates. Coach Yates was a young recent college football player and graduate from Navarro College. Yates sported a blue Jeep Renegade which many of the players envied. Coach Yates and Coach Allen enjoyed a dynamic relationship of good cop-bad cop, which provided an excellent balance for the players. But unfortunately for us, both coaches looked forward to the afternoons of doling out possum rolls (summersaults) to the players after our not-so-perfect outings.
The early 80’s brought Klein some competitive teams. The big rivals of this time were Conroe and Cy-Creek. Sluggers back in that day included Mike Klein, Alan Brown, Scott Wallace, Daren Kennard, Randy Anderson, Randy Hux, Mark Barfield, etc.
Enter the mid-80’s and a live green Easton bat and the Black Magic. Our mid-80’s sluggers were Kyle Atkinson, Bryan Huddleston, Arnie Linbloom, Eric Graff, Gary Hays, Ronnie Anderson, etc. Back to ’82 and ’83, Coach Allen and Coach Bradshaw were able to assemble an effective one-two punch of pitching and hitting with Kyle Atkinson and Paul Kuzinar, which helped elevate the team to the State Playoffs. Klein was finally on the map of bringing some consistent competition to the field. After the ’85 season, Coach Allen retired and the program spent a few years trying to re-invent itself.