Northwestern has hired Illinois assistant coach Spencer Allen as its new head baseball coach. Kendall Rogers first reported the news, and the program made the official announcement soon after.
Allen was an assistant on the Illini team that went 50-10-1 this year, including a 21-1 Big Ten mark and an astounding 27-game win streak, a conference record. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament Super Regionals, where they lost to Vanderbilt. He coached Tyler Jay, the No. 6 overall pick in this past week's MLB Draft, during his junior season with the Illini.
Allen came to Illinois a year ago after a two-year stint with Creighton as an associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. He has also been on coaching staffs at Washington State, Purdue, Iowa and Edmonds Community College. He also spent one season as a scout for the Detroit Tigers.
Allen played college baseball at Iowa State for three seasons, and was a team captain his senior year.
According to D1Baseball.com, Allen will be the first African American head coach in major conference Division I college baseball.
(Update: Allen is NOT the first African American head coach in major conference Division I college baseball. He is the third, but first since 1983. He is the first black coach in Big Ten history.)
Allen will replace longtime coach Paul Stevens, who had been with the program for 31 years before retiring following the 2015 season. Stevens had been head coach for 27 of those 31 years.