Friends, family remember Brian McAllister at celebration of life
About a month after Brian McAllister died of complications from neck cancer, his widow, Kara, wanted to get back into the activity that brought the two of them together in the first place: tennis.
“It’s something I loved and I shared with him. I play with his tennis racquets. It’s like I have a piece of him with me,” Kara said.
On Tuesday, the Manatee County School Board will consider re-naming the tennis courts at King Middle School after McAllister, who died in February at age 47. When he died, McAllister was in his 19th year coaching at Manatee High, spending eight years coaching the boys team and then 11 coaching girls.
He coached up until about a month before he died, and Kara said she was amazed at his dedication.
“It was such a big part of his life,” she said.
If approved, the facility will be named the Brian P. McAllister Tennis Courts. The courts recently underwent a $375,000 renovation project. Kara called them beautiful.
Manatee High School athletic director Danielle LaPoint spoke before the board at the last meeting, letting them know Manatee High officials would be submitting the nomination form. In the form, LaPoint wrote about some of the different honors bestowed on McAllister while he was at Manatee.
“He positively affected Manatee High School for two decades,” LaPoint wrote.
School board member Charlie Kennedy, also a friend of McAllister’s, credited the staff at Manatee High School for getting the ball rolling so quickly to bring the nomination before the board.
“Having such a deep personal connection to this one, this is special for me,” he said.
If approved, signage in McAllister’s honor would be provided and installed by Willis A. Smith Construction of Sarasota, according to the nomination form submitted to the school board by Manatee High School.
To keep McAllister’s memory alive, Kara said she’s been considering working on some type of tournament in his honor and established a scholarship fund for students who play tennis, or attend University of South Florida, McAllister’s alma mater.
“That’s still something we’re kind of thinking about,” she said.