By Daniella Molina
Former East Los Angeles College professor and Athletic Director Allen Cone, settled into retirement after a 33-year tenure.
Cone leaves a legacy that focuses on quality and constant improvements for both the coaches and student athletics of ELAC.
Cone’s career at ELAC began in 1989, after being presented the opportunity by then basketball coach Jorge Canelas.
Canelas spoke to the Athletic Director about Cone, who was the baseball coach at Don Bosco Tech at the time.
By chance, the two had seen each other in passing, when Canales encouraged Cone to apply.
“I didn’t expect to get the job. I went in there very casual, khaki slacks, a button-down shirt. (Not tie, no jacket) I just wanted to take an interview because I always wanted to be a community college baseball coach.
“In fact, that was a goal of mine. The next day I got a phone call that said, ‘If you want the job, it’s yours.’ And the rest is history,” Cone said.
Cone was the Head Baseball Coach from 1990-1998, Athletic Director from 2001-2018 as well as a full time professor until his retirement in July.
Cone’s time coaching at ELAC includes men’s baseball reaching the state finals in 2018, with head coach Hines.
He also coached women’s basketball ranking No. 1 with coach Bruce Turner, two Final Four appearances and Two Elite-Eight appearances.
He was also the athletic director for the women’s swim team with 14 All-American nods in two straight years.
He was the athletic director for both men’s track & field and women’s track & field became a Top-10 state team at the California Community College Athletic Association Championships in 2018.
He also coached the men’s basketball team in the playoffs with head coach John Mosley, who was hired by Cone.
ELAC’s men’s basketball became Netflix’s favorite documentary in 2020. Cone can be seen throughout the series and was interviewed as well.
“I don’t know about all that Netflix stuff. You have to ask Coach Mosley.
“I do know Netflix cut off the good stuff I said and put it on the floor.
“I don’t know if I was misquoted, well actually, I couldn’t have been misquoted, because it was me and my words. But when I said the word “assholes” and then, they cut to, ‘we have those here’ I didn’t say that,” Cone said.
However, he does feel that the documentary shines a positive light on the campus, light that was not shined on the campus in previous years during Cone’s reign.
He pushed past the adversity and negative reputation of the East Los Angeles campus.
He set out to prove ELAC was more than “a community college.” He strived for more than just games, practice and final scores.
He wanted to give more to the students’ two year experience at ELAC.
He made sure coaches were held accountable and what was expected of a student athlete.
More importantly, he wanted students to stay out of trouble and aided them in recognizing the signs of abuse.
In 2002-2003 Cone, as the Athletic Director, implemented that all ELAC student athletes attend a domestic violence and sexual assault awareness presentation.
Cone saw so many students getting themselves into trouble or losing out on opportunities due to the lack of knowledge about the topic and the effects of the abuse for both men and women.
Cone said it was challenging to get all the coaches on board with the program.
“Coaches made excuses on why student athletes couldn’t go,” Cone said. Despite the pushback, the program went on every year, for 15 years.
The Student-Athlete Academic Awards Luncheon, was made possible with the great support from Dean Lam and athletic counselor Ralph Vallez who helped Cone establish the event.
The luncheon highlighted and awarded the positive academics and events that happened within the athletics department.
“We are not dealing with athletes who happen to be students. It is students who happen to be athletes,” Cone said.
All the success of the athletic department did not come without obstacles. Cone, along with the Athletic Assistant Didi Jackson, battled for every cent that went to the athletic department.
Cone paved the way for numerous fundraisers to further support the atheletic department and student athletes.
“It was never a job to me. I never had to go to work. It was such a joy to be the athletic director and also to be a teacher at ELAC.
“When it started to become a job, unfortunately, I stepped down. The timing was perfect. The timing was right,” Cone said.
Cone stepped down as athletic director in 2018 and retired as a full-time instructor in June of 2021.
Since his retirement, he now spends much of his time with his wife, Emi.
“Now that I am retired, all the hours, the time that I missed spending quality time with her, I’m making up now,” Cone said.
They spend their time traveling and visiting their vacation home about 20 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada.
When asked about his favorite time during his career Cone said, “My favorite time, the most favorite time is when I met my wife there. She is the best thing that ever happened to me, my biggest fan, the most important person in my life.”
Cone said he had a lot of great moments while a coach at ELAC.
“It was always fun going to athletic contests and playoffs to bring out the best in people.
“The men’s soccer game at Orange Coast College was outstanding. The triple overtime game in men’s basketball at Chaffey College, (again) was outstanding.
“Following men’s and women’s basketball to Northern California. Both appeared in the final four. That was phenomenal.
“Football bowl games are great. The football game at College of the Desert was a great game. Honestly, at the time, I thought it was the greatest college game I’ve ever seen,” Cone said.
He said there were thousands of unforgettable games, events, students, and memories like the Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk or the Clean Up Day or Sprucing Up Day of Monterey Park.
Cone leaves behind an incredible legacy that will echo through ELAC in years to come.
It was a balance of giving and receiving.
Cone dedicated and gave himself countless hours and in return ELAC gave him unforgettable people, memories and moments.
“Everything in my life that I have become today. One, my wife. I met my wife because of East Los Angeles College, but everything I have is because of East Los Angeles College.
“I am eternally grateful to everyone who had a hand in my career and really grateful to Ernie Moreno, who was the president. I’m really grateful to the college,” Cone said.