First-year coach has Eagles hoops program soaring

By: Mike Moore | Southfield Sun | Published January 18, 2011

 First-year coach Seena Allen hit the ground running when she took over the Southfield Christian girls basketball program.

First-year coach Seena Allen hit the ground running when she took over the Southfield Christian girls basketball program.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


SOUTHFIELD — A year ago, Tim Fracassi was the head coach of the Southfield Christian girls basketball team. But when the 2009-10 season came to a close, so too did his time on the sideline.

He was ready to move on, prepared to pass the torch.

Of course, as the school’s athletic director he’d play a key role in finding the person to assume his old job.

“This year’s coach is a huge upgrade over last year’s,” he said light-heartedly, yet seriously, last week. “I think we found the perfect person for the job.”

Roughly two hours later, Seena Allen is in the Eagles’ gym for an afternoon practice.

She carries herself with the look and swagger of a former player, which she is.

Her players absorb every word she says, as if they’ve already earned a certain trust with her, which they have.

Most of all, the girls on the court conduct themselves like a group that’s known nothing but success this season.

“We have great chemistry … a group that works very hard and is very coachable,” said Allen, who had her team at 6-1 at press time. “It’s a very unselfish group, and I think we’re all having a lot of fun.”

Allen comes from a basketball family and played at Eastern Michigan University from 1991-1995. Her brother, Sean Waters, starred at Central Michigan University, and her dad, Gary Waters, is the current men’s coach at Cleveland State University.

But Seena Allen never envisioned getting back into the high school game, at least not yet. She coached for one year while living in Florida, but her first baby and subsequent growing family took precedent, and her coaching days were, as she thought, behind her.

Last winter, however, she took on the Southfield Christian middle school girls job.

Then, when Fracassi stepped down, Allen, who also works in the school’s administrative offices, stepped up.

“Her reputation and knowledge of the game made it an easy choice,” Fracassi said of hiring Allen to fill his shoes. “She’s done a great job already building this program up.”

The 6-1 record speaks to Fracassi’s point, but a quick conversation with any of her players sheds even more light on the overall appreciation there is for its head coach.

“She’s wonderful. We love her,” senior guard Peyton Brown boasted. “Everything’s always so positive. She’d done so much to make this feel like more than a team.”

“A real people person,” senior guard Shayla Moore added. “You can talk to her about anything, not just basketball. And knowing that makes being around here and being with this team even better.”

But the main reason for the admiration with Allen goes deeper than a smile and a bubbly personality.

“She really is the complete basketball package,” Fracassi said. “She’s got a great repertoire for the game.”

“She’s made us a better team with her knowledge of the game and the things we do,” Moore added. “She can be our friend out here, but at the same time she has this look, and when we get ‘the look,’ we know it’s time for business.”

Allen smiles and shakes her head hearing all the praise heaved her way. In her mind, all she’s done is jump on a great opportunity and further enjoy the game she’s always loved.

And for now, she’s keeping things in perspective — kind of.

“Go all the way, why not?” she said when asked about her short-term goal with the Eagles. “At the same time, I want to watch this program grow. I want to build from one year to the next, become fundamentally sound, work team camps, get the parents more involved and aware of what we’re doing, and so on. I just love this. I love what we’re working towards.”

With that said, Allen returned to practice, demonstrating a head fake to her girls as she drove the lane to begin another drill.

For the short term and long term, the Eagles find themselves in very good hands, and somewhere, Tim Fracassi can pat himself on the back.