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TEAM DREAMS OWN "MIKE GREEN"
He has an abundance of memories at Canarsie HS.
There was the story of Laquan Stoves, a New Orleans kid whose family felt the full effects of Hurricane Katrina and had to relocate to Brooklyn. He saw to it that Stoves buckled down in the classroom, and even drove him to his graduation ceremony in 2009.
Nathaniel Lester couldn't even hit a left-handed layup at the start of his career at Canarsie. So he worked with Lester until the guard was good enough to earn a full scholarship to Hofstra.
Most recently, there was Michael Thomas-Greene, a junior born with shortened limbs as arms. Yet, he gave him a shot, and the guard inspired the Chiefs all season long.
"He" is Tommie Allen, who has built lifelong relationships while working at Canarsie for the past 22 years. Now, the longtime Canarsie teacher and basketball coach doesn't know if he'll be able to create more memories at the school located at 1600 Rockaway Parkway.
Canarsie, which had already been operating as a four-school campus for the past three years, is scheduled to be phased out at the end of this school year. It will then only allow enrollment at its HS of Medical Professions, Urban Action Academy and HS for Innovation.
All administrators and faculty members will have to re-apply for their positions, and there are no guarantees for any of them.
Allen is not immune to the uncertainty.
"I could be back," says Allen, 48. "I don't know where I'm going to be placed yet. I have to apply at one of the new schools."
Allen says memories of students and players growing over the years overshadow the looming shuttering of the school, where he has spent a large part of his life.
"The good outweighs anything else going on," says Allen, who graduated from Canarsie in 1980. "I don't know what's going to happen, but hopefully I'm back. "
Jubae Mujahid, Canarsie's assistant principal, helped spearhead a celebration called "This Is It" to honor the school's rich history and tradition.
The party - for all administration, faculty, parents and students past and present - will take place at the school on Saturday, May 21. Tickets are $44 each, with proceeds going towards materials for Canarsie's final graduating class in June. Mujahid says about 300 people are expected.
Fittingly, Allen, who deejays for 98.7 Kiss FM on alternating Friday nights, will be spinning tunes that evening.
It's likely that many of Allen's former students and players will show up to show support for the man who helped them throughout their high school years.
"Coach Allen was one of the first coaches to teach me about the game," says Lester, who is earning his Master's degree in physical education at Hofstra and will wrap up his collegiate basketball career next season. "The dedication he put in the program was significant."
"Coach is a real sincere man that did it by example," says Aswan Morris, a former player who graduated in 1999. "There's so much tradition (at Canarsie), especially for a basketball player. It's really sad."
Still, Allen has no regrets.
"I wouldn't change a thing," Allen says.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/high_school/2011/04/16/2011-04-16_tommie_allen_longtime_basketball_coach_at_canarsie_hs_faces_uncertainty_as_schoo.html#ixzz1MwKWxqIL