Loren Montgomery wanted to coach, but he didn’t have anyone to turn to. His playing days at Northeastern State had expired, and he found himself buried at the bottom of any kind of coaching hierarchy.
Enter, Allan Trimble.
“He gave me my first opportunity when I didn’t know anything or anyone,” Montgomery said. “He gave me a chance to be a volunteer coach, and then that next year he hired me full time.”
That relationship blossomed over a 10-year period at Jenks, where Montgomery worked his way up the totem pole, going from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator to interim head coach. Montgomery stepped in to lead the Trojans when Trimble was suspended during the 2009 season after it was discovered that Jenks used an ineligible player during the 2008 campaign.
“When you’re presented with that situation, you never know how it’ll take shape,” Montgomery said. “It was an unfortunate deal, but I learned so many things that have helped me in my coaching career.”
Those pointers he picked up were from Trimble, an unparalleled adviser in Montgomery’s coaching life.
“I’m proud to of worked with him and getting to call him my mentor,” Montgomery said. “From him, I learned how to treat people and how to run a top-notch football program. I owe him everything.”
Same goes for Darren Melton, Lincoln Christian’s former head coach and current athletic director.
“In 1998, I arrived at Jenks as the defensive coordinator, just as they had graduated one of the greatest high school football teams in Oklahoma history,” Melton recalled. “We lost two of our first three and the defense was atrocious because I was atrocious. With Allan, there was no panic. He said, ‘the sun will come up tomorrow. Keep doing what you’re doing.’ Sure enough, we were the 6A state champs that year. He was right; the sun came up.”
Melton took what he learned from Trimble and applied it to the job at Lincoln Christian, where he went 142-38 in 15 seasons. But what Melton took most from his time at Jenks was far beyond any kind of game strategies.
“Allan’s greatness is in his love for people,” Melton said. “I always have stood in awe of his awareness of the human condition. His world was all about his players and coaches.
“The wins gave him a platform to influence others in a positive way. He embraced that. His unassuming nature would never lead you to believe that he is arguably the most decorated high school coach in Oklahoma history.”
Then there are Trimble’s former players — all of whom hold Trimble in high regard.
“He will be sorely missed on the sidelines,” said Bobby Klinck, a former defensive back and running back for Trimble in the early 2000s before serving as a coach in the Tulsa area.
Klinck, now the defensive coordinator in Owasso, even rehashed an old Trimble story, just to illustrate the kind of person Trimble is to everyone.
“We got into a heated argument after a game when I was at Muskogee,” Klinck said, referring to his days as the defensive coordinator for the Roughers before becoming the head coach at East Central. “It was just two competitors voicing their differences. That Monday, I emailed him about a page-long letter apologizing. Then about an hour later, I get a two-page email of him apologizing and explaining his side. We met that Monday at the junior varsity game and hugged it out, and we never spoke of it again.
“Just a great example of how he had every right to hold a grudge against me, but he was kind enough to accept my apology and teach me a few things as well.”