The Coaches vs. Cancer - Cowboy Classic Golf Tournament is in honor of Matt Allen. Matt attended OSU from 1986-1990 and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. To say he loved Oklahoma State would be an understatement. Kelly Allen, Matt's wife, is also an OSU alumna, his daughter Taylor is a current student at OSU and his son Chris, a junior at Bishop McGuinness, looks awfully good in orange.
From the time his children were little, Matt coached most of their sports including basketball, football, and baseball. However, he had a keen love for coaching softball. He was the athletic director at their school and the president of the grade school athletic association in Oklahoma City. Matt believed in the life lessons that one could learn from sports. He said that when he played on a team, if he was having a bad day, his teammates were there to lift him up and help him finish the game. At the same time, it was his responsibility to be that person for others when they needed it. He believed life was like that too.
In September of 2009, Matt was diagnosed with a grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, with a life-expectancy of less than a year. Matt refused to give in to the statistics and survived five brain surgeries, an intensive Gamma Knife procedure, seven weeks of daily radiation, and over four years of on-going chemo without a break.
You could say he was a fighter, and you’d be right. Matt called it his “adventure,” but that’s only part of the story. His kids like to say, yes their dad had brain cancer, but no, it was not the most interesting thing about him.
During Matt’s adventure he became a featured speaker for the American Cancer Society, traveling the state sharing his special joy of life and speaking at multiple Relay for Life events. Matt’s motto in life was “PLAY HARD AND HAVE FUN.”
That spirit carries on into the Coaches vs. Cancer Cowboy Classic Golf Tournament today.
THE MATT ALLEN SUPERMAN AWARD
Each year, at the conclusion of the OSU Coaches vs Cancer Cowboy Classic, two awards are given - he Matt Allen Superman Award (in Memory) and The Matt Allen Superman Award (in Honor). The recipients of these awards are identified based on criteria provided by the Allen Family. These characteristics, exhibited by Matt Allen, are listed below.
Matt’s favorite song was “Walking on Sunshine.” He always believed something good was bound to happen. He focused on that entirely.
Matt was always a person for others - in decades as a volunteer coach, as the Athletic Director at the kids' school, as well as the president of the city–wide athletic association. Even during his last few weeks, every time a visitor or nurse would walk in the hospital room Matt would ask them, "Now what can I do for you?" before they left.
Whether it was convincing the high school that speech should qualify for a varsity letter or working with his son for hours on his dribbling technique, Matt never gave up. And he managed to make it fun along the way.
This may have been one of Matt's most defining characteristics. Regardless of what he was faced with, he chose joy every day. He taught his kids that they couldn't always control what happened in their lives, but they could control their responses to life. His response was always joy. His favorite motto was “Play Hard, Have Fun"
LOYAL & TRUE
It's not just a line in a song, or something that looks good on a bumper sticker. Matt was loyal and true. He bled orange, loved OSU, and was so thrilled when his daughter chose it as her home away from home. We know he is smiling as his son has chosen to attend OSU as well. Matt was loyal and true to all of his friends. And if you ever met Matt, he was your friend.
Watch Coaches vs. Cancer's tribute to Matt Allen: Our Superman.