Allen Floyd, director of the Mullins Recreation Department, has been characterized as “a giant among men” — coach, mentor and champion of all children; dedicated; disciplined; respected and the “most patient man I know.”
These are just a few of the reasons Floyd was chosen as a 2020 Marion Medallion recipient.
The award is presented each year by Francis Marion University and the Morning News to recognize those who give of themselves for the betterment of others.
“He is a family man, community leader and church leader,” said William “Bo” McMillan, the mayor of Mullins. He said Floyd brings so many attributes to the table. Everything he does is for the children.
McMillan said it was a tremendous pleasure to be invited to be a part of the ceremony.
“The award is a long time in coming,” McMillan said. “He is a star on and off the court of life.”
Floyd was a basketball standout for the Francis Marion Patriots in the 1970s and set numerous records, some of which still stand today.
“I am shocked. I really do appreciate it,” Floyd said when a selection committee visited him at the Mullins Recreation Department to make the announcement. “I know it matters, but I’ve already gotten awards. The hugs from the children are what are really important.”
A native of Mullins, Floyd spends his days working with and mentoring children and youths in his hometown. he started working in recreation while attending Francis Marion on a basketball scholarship. He graduated in 1976. He and his wife, Dawn, are both Francis Marion graduates.
Floyd became the full-time recreation director in July 1976. He worked for the Recreation Department in Mullins for approximately 11 years before going to work for New York Life Insurance Co. He stayed there from 1987 to 2009 and continued coaching during that time. After he retired, Floyd said, he was talked into returning to the Recreation Department. He said he was given the opportunity by the Mullins City Council to take over the department.
“The mayor and City Council gave me this opportunity,” Floyd said. “I was only going to stay a couple of years. It has been 10 years now. I haven’t looked back.”
Floyd said he has a few more things he wants to do before thinking about cutting back on his hours.
“I have been very blessed, because the good Lord has done so much for me,” he said. “I am blessed every day, even if I never get an award. But this award lets other people understand how blessed I am. I want to thank all the children, parents and volunteers who have made this recreation department a success.”
Floyd said he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what he has without the members of his staff, Ken Mason and Henry Jackson.
“They are very important in our providing services,” he said.
He also praised Holly Jackson, Felicia Turner and Jean Brunson.
“They help take care of the Recreation Department,” he said.
He said he expects a lot out of the children who participate in the recreation programs, but he always gives them a second chance to make it right.
Floyd said they have a system of coaching at the Recreation Department whereby he teaches the fundamentals of the game of basketball to all of the players.
He said he gets to know all of the children this way.
“I put all kids on teams and make sure that the teams are as even as possible,” he said. “Every kid works hard, and all have a chance to win.
“I’ve been blessed to have coaches who have bought into the theory of ‘Let’s teach every kid.’”
Floyd’s colleagues and friends hold him in high esteem.
“He is a legend,” McMillan said. “He sets an extraordinary example. He doesn’t play favorites, and he doesn’t play politics.”
McMillan said he expects good behavior from both the parents and the children. He said his kids play in a disciplined way.
“It is be good or be gone,” McMillan said. “He is tenacious. We are fortunate to have him here.”
Ronnie Pridgen, the director of Florence County Parks and Recreation, said he has known Floyd for 45 years, “since I was about 10 years old. He is one of the reasons I’ve been in recreation for 33 years.”
Pridgen said Floyd has more patience than anyone he has ever known. He said they have a professional relationship,but it goes far beyond that.
“He loves the kids and is doing exactly what God put him on this Earth to do,” Pridgen said.
Pridgen said Floyd’s patience and his love for “all” kids is what makes him great at what he does.
“He cares about the children much more than just for the sports,” Pridgen said. “He has the ability to see the good and not the bad in them.”
Floyd said adults have a responsibility toward raising children to be good citizens, people of integrity.
Floyd also made a name for himself as an athlete, setting records on the basketball court, some of which he still holds. He attended Francis Marion from 1971 to 1975 and holds the career record for most rebounds (933) and is fifth in total scoring (1,599). He established numerous other records that have since been broken.
Floyd said he did hold the record for making the most consecutive free-throw attempts at 28, but that record was broken last year.
In a column for the Morning News, Francis Marion men’s basketball coach Gary Edwards wrote, “Impressive numbers for sure, but more impressive are the number of young people Allen Floyd has helped and nurtured through the years.”
Edwards was writing about a trip his men’s basketball team took to Mullins to conduct a basketball clinic.
He told how all of the children “migrated toward the Pied Piper of Mullins sports, Allen Floyd. He knew them by name; some of the young ones took hold of a leg and gave him a hug; all were excited to see him. There were probably close to 100 youngsters in that tiny gym by the time we got started. All colors and shapes and sizes and genders, these young people were polite and listened when Allen Floyd spoke.
“He works long hours, opening the gym and cutting the fields and organizing the practices, and he certainly doesn’t do it for the money. Mr. Floyd does it all for the kids.”
Floyd is a member of the Marion County Council and a former member of the Marion County School Board. He was chairman of the school board for four years and the chaplain for the County Council for 12 years.
He has been involved in prison ministry for more than 20 years.
“It is an opportunity to touch a lot of lives,” he said. “The first word out many of their mouths when they see me is ‘Coach.’”
He is also a former Rotarian and was previously a member of the Jaycees.
He helped to provide toys to approximately 100 to 125 children at the Jaycees’ Christmas party for underprivileged children.
“We brought joy into kids’ lives,” he said. “We got the joy; they got the presents.
“Without my family, I couldn’t do any of this. I want to thank them for putting up with the long hours.”
He said his wife helps in the canteen during games.
The Floyds have a daughter, Chrissy; a son, Dusty; and a daughter-in-law, Erin. They have two grandchildren, Asher, 2, and Andi Grace, 1½.
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