High school fans were saddened to learn the passing of Bill Allen, a longtime sports photographer and sports writer. Allen, who died unexpectedly Sunday, Aug. 14, at the age of 58, always had a happy-go-lucky disposition while taking photos of countless scholastic events and writing feature stories and game stories for more than three decades. One of the events he covered every year was the Paul Robeson High School Football All-Star Classic in East Orange.
Bill would always take photos of the the players and coaches in the Robeson Classic each year, whether it was prior to the game or during the game itself.
Those players and coaches especially appreciated what Bill did, particularly Bloomfield HS football head coach Mike Carter.
Carter, like many people, will miss Bill.
“Bill Allen was a great friend of the Robeson All-Star Classic,” said Carter, who has always been involved with the Robeson Classic. “Bill donated a great deal of time and photography to help us make the Classic a great success.”
For me (Joe Ragozzino), I had the pleasure of knowing Bill for almost 20 years, when I first became sports editor for Essex County for Worrall Community Newspapers, which also operates essexnewsdaily.com, back in the fall of 1998.
Whenever I saw him at a high school game, he always showed his passion for his job. His passion was so inspiring. He was always engaging. Whenever I needed a photo, he always helped me.
I will never forget this one particular year at the Robeson Classic, he treated members of the media to pizza. There were boxes of pizza behind the bench on the sideline and he told us to help ourselves to slices of pizza. He was as kind-hearted as any person can be.
I am going to miss Bill dearly, as will many, many coaches, players, fans, and parents. He was well-liked by many, many people. Going to a high school game won’t be the same.