‘We’re not starting from ground zero’; Former assistant named head boys basketball coach at Desert Hills

Desert Hills players douse head coach Chris Allred with a cooler full of ice water after winning the 4A state baseball championship with a 16-3 victory over Dixie, St. George, Utah, May 21, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — When Desert Hills boys basketball head coach Wade Turley stepped down at the end of March, he mentioned that someone in the program was in the running for the job, and it was recently announced that the person in question was Chris Allred.

Desert Hills coach Chris Allred talks to reporters after the Thunder won the 4A state baseball championship with a 16-3 victory over Dixie, St. George, Utah, May 21, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Allred was an assistant coach for the Thunder this season while also being the head baseball coach. He’s been involved with Desert Hills since the school opened in 2008, and he will now be the head coach of the Thunder. Allred was the head boys basketball coach at Pine View, and he has also coached girls basketball at Snow Canyon and Desert Hills.

Allred’s teams have played for five state championships and won seven region championships. He helped lead Desert Hills to the 2019 baseball state championships but has decided to step back from baseball and take over the basketball program.

“I’m excited about it,” Allred said. “Basketball has been a passion of mine for a long time. It’s kind of bittersweet, because I was really enjoying the experience of coaching in our baseball program, and I really had strong connections with the boys there.”

Allred told St. George News it felt like this might be one of his last opportunities to take on this role.

“Ultimately I made the decision to jump at it and give it one more run.”

The change in command is an ironic one, as Turley was Allred’s assistant at Pine View back in the day.

Sky View vs Desert Hills at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, Feb. 28, 2020 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News

“That’s going way back,” Allred said, “but when I took over the program at Pine View, he had helped me with the sophomore program there for the five years. … I’ve known Wade for quite a while, and I’ve helped him here as an assistant coach for the last six years.”

As for his returning cast next season, Allred has a majority of their team back. Keegan Munson, Peyton Holmes, Reggie Newby and Justin Judkins are just a few of the familiar names, and they all had a major role in the Thunder advancing on to the 4A state semifinals.

“It always makes it a little less daunting when you’ve got some players returning with some experience and they’re obviously high caliber players,” Allred said. “I’m excited about the prospects of being able to coach these kids that are returning. Hopefully we can work hard and earn the opportunity to have success next year.”

Allred is excited to build the program as a whole and put his stamp on it. He also said that he will be looking into what worked and what did not last season so that he can make improvements to the program.

He’s been reevaluating last season and plans on tailoring his approach to the strength of the program.

“That’s kind of the fun part,” he said. “That’s really where my passion is with basketball. It’s something where I feel like the harder I work at it, the more success you have. As a coach I really love that challenge of trying to find the right combination of kids and find the right things that are going to give you the most success as a team.”

Desert Hills vs Cedar at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, Feb. 27, 2020 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News

Allred is also a math teacher, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been teaching math from home, but he’s also had plenty of time to look into the program he has taken over.

His experience with the players in the program and his relationships with them should help ease the transition between coaches.

“I think the advantage for me is that I’ve seen first hand some of the strengths and weaknesses of our team and of our program,” Allred said. “I know where our base or where our foundation is right now, and I’ve got relationships with the players that are coming back, so I feel like we’re not starting from ground zero. That’s the nice thing.”

When asked about the difficulty of leaving the baseball program after their state championship win last season, Allred said that the hardest part was leaving his players.

“I felt like we had a really good group of kids,” he said. “They were just really fun to coach, to be around, and they worked hard. That part I’m really going to miss and those relationships with those players, that’s for sure.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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