MIAMI — Zach Allen has resigned as head football coach at Northeastern A&M Friday to accept a position at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.

Allen has been a part of the Norse football staff for the past 12 years and head coach since 2018.

He will join the staff of J.J. Eckert, a Tahlequah native who had been head coach at Southwest Junior College Football Conference from 2007 to 2018.

“I am looking forward to working with J.J.,” said Allen, who will be recruiting coordinator and defensive run game coordinator for the River Hawks.

“It was nothing that I was seeking, but it was an opportunity that was presented where I will be analyzing power situations,” he said. “Sometimes, you realize God puts situations in front of you for a reason and you better go follow them.”

Defensive coordinator Zach Crissup will serve as interim head coach until a successor to Allen is named.

He said he would start his new position within two weeks.

“I’ve got 12 years of roots laid down here, so it’s not exactly easy to up and go,” Allen said.

His record at NEO was 12-9. That included

During his tenure, the Golden Norse compiled a record of 12-9. That includes an appearance in the 2018 Midwest Classic Bowl at Red Robertson Field.

NEO finished second in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, falling to Eckert’s Rangers in the league championship game.

Allen succeeded Clay Patterson as Norse head coach. Clay Patterson is tight ends coach at Minnesota.

“My heart has fallen heavy by the fact that I will be leaving a place that has shaped my life for the last 11 1/2 years,” Allen said in a Friday email to boosters. “There is no greater tradition at the junior college level than Golden Norseman football. Words can not express the gratitude that I owe to the hundreds of players, dozens of coaches and the multitudes of supporters that have made my career on the Banks of Tar Creek an overwhelming success.”

“I would like to thank Zach for his many years of service with NEO,” said athletic director Joe Renfro. “His experience and expertise were instrumental to NEO’s success in his time with us and we wish him well on his next step.”

Allen was part of NEO’s Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship teams in 2012 and 2017.

He was the recipient of the Merv Johnson Integrity in Coaching award in 2017.

The American Football College Coaches Association recognized Allen in 2016 as one of the best 30 coaches under the age of 30.

He lived in Dyer Hall and coached the defensive line when he first arrived on the NEO campus in 2009.

Since then, Allen has been defensive line coach, special teams coach and recruiting coordinator (2010-13), defensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and campus director of discipline (2014-17) and run game coordinator, offensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and athletic academic advisor (2018).

Crissup rejoined the NEO coaching staff in 2018 and has been the defensive coordinator for the past two seasons.

He was linebacker and strength coach from 2010-2014 under former Norse coaches Dale Patterson, Sherard Poteete and Ryan Held.

Allen’s wife, Sam, will be with Tahlequah public schools in a technology position.