Former players rally behind South Bay basketball coach who lost gym, home due to COVID-19 pandemic

"...dealing with emotional stress and dealing with depression. I never knew what it was actually like."
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The COVID-19 pandemic was hard on everyone, but it dealt a South Bay basketball coach losses off the court... that he had never seen on it.

He taught his players the value of fighting through adversity and now those same athletes are coming together to help him in his time of need.

A good mentor is someone who can change your life forever.

For former Cal and professional basketball player Derek King, that person was his basketball coach Mike Allen.

"He saw some talent that wasn't uncovered yet and he was willing to work with me and be patient," King said. "Not only on the court, but off the court he mentored me. I would not be where I am at today without him, I would for sure say that."

Coach Allen most recently coached at De Anza College in San Jose following a playing career of his own.

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As a former pro player himself, Coach Allen created his "Mike Allen Sports" and opened his own gym.

If players couldn't afford services, he would allow them to do community service instead.

His goal was to teach athletes skills needed to succeed both on and off the court.

Little did Allen know the lessons he taught would need to be applied to his own life.

Last year, Coach Allen suffered some of the worst losses of his life.

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He received three challenging health diagnoses that made coaching basketball and even walking difficult.

Then, with sports shut down and no income from "Mike Allen Sports," he lost his home, his program and his gym.

"It was very difficult. I started to see the challenges that I was facing, was what I was helping everyone else with," Allen said. "Dealing with mental health issues, dealing with emotional stress and dealing with depression. I never knew what it was actually like."

After seeing their coach at such a low point, former players and parents created a GoFundMe account to help get him back to doing what he loves.

The group quickly raised more than $9,000.

"It says a lot about the type of person that he is," King said. "Just the fact that the community is gathering around to try and help him, I'm not surprised by that."

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While still grateful for the help, Coach Allen did not want his story to be one of sadness.

He strives to fight through the adversity every day, just like he taught his athletes.

"If I gave up and one person found out that I gave up and I gave this message, I couldn't live with myself," Allen said. "So, that is what drove me to keep pushing, driving towards my goals and my gifts."

A heart of a champion, no matter the loss.

To donate to the effort to help Coach Allen, you can visit the GoFundMe page here.

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