Dennis Allen was formally introduced as Head Coach of The Oakland Raiders on Monday, January 30, 2012.
Allen becomes the 18th head coach in the 52-year history of the Oakland Raiders. At age 39, Allen is the youngest current head coach in the NFL.
“When I talk about the guy I was looking for, I was looking for a guy that could lead these men, that was passionate about the game, that was passionate about teaching, and that was passionate about the Oakland Raiders,” said General Manager Reggie McKenzie. “Not only did Coach Dennis Allen do that for me, he exceeded those expectations. Coach Allen is extremely bright, extremely intense. He’s focused on one thing, and that what we are all focused on and that is winning Championships.”
Allen is excited to be the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders. “What a great opportunity for me and my family to be a part of such a great organization,” said Coach Allen. “This organization has really been an outstanding organization throughout the years. It is a great privilege and honor for me to be the next Head Coach, the 18th Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders.”
Allen, 39, has 16 years of coaching experience at the college and professional football levels, including 10 as an NFL assistant. He was on the coaching staff of teams that captured the division title four times—Denver, 2011; New Orleans, 2009, 2006; Atlanta, 2004—and qualified for the postseason in two other seasons—2010 and 2002.
Allen was the NFL’s second-youngest defensive coordinator at the time of his hiring by the Denver Broncos last January. He helped the Broncos win the American Football Conference Western Division title and advance to the AFC Divisional round with a wild card round victory in the postseason.
In his sole year coordinating the Denver defense, the Broncos improved 12 spots over the previous year in overall defensive ranking (from 32nd to 20th) and bettered their points allowed eight spots (from 32nd to 24th).
Prior to joining the Broncos, Allen was an assistant coach for five seasons with New Orleans, first as assistant defensive line coach from 2006-07, then as Saints defensive backs coach from 2008-10.
Under Allen’s direction, the Saints secondary allowed an NFL-low 13 touchdown passes while ranking fourth in the NFL in net passing yards per game (193.9) in 2010.
Allen tutored a secondary that played a key role in helping the Saints to their first Super Bowl victory (XLIV). His unit accounted for an NFL-high six interception returns for touchdowns and totaled 22 picks en route to their championship. One of his pupils, cornerback Tracy Porter, sealed the Saints’ 31-17 win over Indianapolis with a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the game.
He also coached safety Darren Sharper, who tied for the NFL lead with nine interceptions in 2009 and joined safety Roman Harper in becoming the first pair of defensive backs in franchise history to make the Pro Bowl in the same season.
In 2008, his first year as secondary coach, Allen helped the unit overcome season-ending injuries to both starting cornerbacks and contributed to a defense that held five opponents under 200 yards passing.
Allen assisted in tutoring the Saints defensive line from 2006-07, during which time defensive end Will Smith was a Pro Bowler in 2006 after posting 10.5 sacks and forcing three fumbles.
He originally entered the NFL coaching ranks with Atlanta in 2002, spending four seasons with the Falcons as a defensive assistant. During his stint in Atlanta, the Falcons qualified for the playoffs twice—as a wild card in 2002 and as NFC South champs in 2004—and played in the NFC Championship in 2004.
Allen spent his first two years with Atlanta working primarily with the defensive backs and in 2002 aided that unit in improving from No. 30 against the pass the previous season to 16th, while tying for third in the NFL with 24 interceptions.
In his final two campaigns in Atlanta, Allen assisted in coaching a defensive line that produced
Pro Bowl defensive linemen Patrick Kearney (2004) and Rod Coleman (2005). In 2004, the defensive line helped the Falcons total 48 sacks to lead the NFL (48) for the first time in team history.
Allen kicked off his coaching career in 1996 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Texas A&M, where he was a four-year letterman as a safety. He worked with Aggie defensive backs for four seasons before coaching the secondary at the University of Tulsa from 2000-01.
Allen was a highly-recruited defensive back at L. D. Bell High School in Hurst, Texas before following his father, Grady Allen, to Texas A&M. Allen went on to start the final 21 games of his career on the top-rated Texas A&M "Wrecking Crew" defense.
The Atlanta native was signed by Buffalo as an undrafted college free agent in 1996 and spent training camp with the Bills. His father played in the NFL as a linebacker for the Falcons from 1968-72.
Allen and his wife, Alisson, have a son, Garrison, and a daughter, Layla.