One of the forefathers of Florida Atlantic football, Jared Allen ‘04 takes a significant amount of pride in seeing how far the program has come.
The final member of the team’s inaugural signing class, Allen came to Florida Atlantic in 2000 as a “skinny kid out of Oklahoma” who could “throw the ball OK,” the former quarterback said. During the early years of the program, there wasn’t much yet in terms of infrastructure, leading to players changing in the locker rooms of FAU’s Palm Beach Community College campus and traveling to Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium for home games.
Despite that, success came quickly for the Owls. Under the direction of Head Football Coach Howard Schnellenberger, Allen helped guide the program through its infancy, playing in every game during the first four seasons, highlighted by an NCAA FCS semifinal finish in 2003.
“I have so much pride and love for FAU,” said Allen, who threw for 8,100 yards and 50 touchdowns during his four-year career. “My years at FAU helped mold me as a man when I was a student-athlete.”
Allen, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science, further saw the program’s evolution from the sidelines, spending eight seasons as a Florida Atlantic assistant coach. During that time, he witnessed numerous milestones, including the opening of the school’s on-campus stadium in 2011.
In July, Allen was back at the same stadium, reminiscing with his former teammates at the 2003 football team’s 20-year anniversary. The visit gave him a further appreciation of the program’s growth, especially seeing the Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence, which opened in 2020.
“When I went back for the reunion, it was awesome to [see],” Allen said. “From Day 1, changing at Palm Beach Community College, to now this facility that’s right outside the stadium. The team rooms are unbelievable. It’s a sense of pride of starting it out and seeing where it’s going now.”
Having hung up the headsets, Allen now lives in Oklahoma with his family and serves as the vice president of Ortho & Extremity at Habakkuk, an orthopedic distributer and consulting firm. While he’s no longer in South Florida, he’ll always look back fondly on his time at Florida Atlantic.
“I had these different eras of time when I was in Boca and those are very instrumental times in my life,” Allen said. “The common denominator was FAU. It kind of goes deeper than ‘That’s my team.’ I’ll always be a part of FAU.”