|Feb. 10, 2014|
|Midwest Losses Bill Allen|
Bill Allen, 66, who has been instrumental playing, managing and developing softball in the Midwest died suddenly this past weekend in his hometown in Indianapolis.
“Bill not only loved the game, he helped develop the sport as a director,” said Terry Hennessy, chief executive officer of Senior Softball-USA. “We will miss Bill for his contribution to the sport – and for his dry sense of humor.”
The person who best knew Bill, his wife Nancy, describes Bill Allen best:
“I guess number one is that Bill never met stranger. He was loved by so many people, and he loved them back.
“He loved motorcycle riding, skiing, and softball. He was known fondly by many of his players as Coachie.
“There was a senior softball world series at his favorite park, Metro Stadium, when he was in his forties, and he knew that was something that he really wanted to do; he had played and coached for many years before that. So he put together a team for the 45 and over league there and dreamed about playing senior softball.
“As soon as he was eligible, Mert Hough, Rabbit (Russell Wilhoit, his first senior tournament also), and Bill put together a team and played his first SSUSA tournament in Florida. He then put together his own team, INDY FOG, and we traveled all over the country.
“The name came from when he played in a senior world series in Memphis for Glenn Dixon. That still was not enough for him; his dream was to have a senior softball tournament in Indianapolis; he worked with Rick Seifman, and the first SSUSA Brickyard tournament started in 2000. There were 10 teams that year; it has grown to 50 and is one of the best SSUSA tournaments in the Midwest.
“He actively recruited senior players in the Midwest and brought many people into it that had never realized that senior softball existed and thought their softball days were almost over until they met him.
“He played and coached for INDY FOG earning two world championships, but his favorite tournament was in Las Vegas in 2001. The team took 3rd, but we were trapped in Indiana, and other players were trapped in Las Vegas because of 9/11. SSUSA gave us a chance to play or not, and they rearranged schedules for any team that had to fly. He and the team decided that the terrorists were not going to take away our right to play softball. So even though there were no flights available when we were scheduled to leave, we took the first flight out of Indianapolis and were one of the first planes landing in Las Vegas.
“At the gate waiting for the plane were our friends the Country Bins, and there were so many hugs and tears of joy. The team was Flying Old Glory that tournament. Butch Drake started playing senior softball that year with the team as our shortstop. (He of course went on to bigger and better things, but he and Bill were always close.)"
Bill Allen is survived by his wife Nancy, daughter Nikki, 3 wonderful grandchildren, and 3 loving dogs. He is joining his parents and son Dustin. There are several celebrations of life planned with his many, different groups of friends in Indiana and one in South Lake Tahoe, California where he married Nancy on skis at Heavenly Valley.
There will be a special temperance during the Brickyard Tournament this year, as well.