The Southern League has honored Tennessee Smokies president and COO Chris Allen, naming him the league’s Outstanding Employee of the Year for 2016. This marks the first time that time that Allen has received the award.
Allen just completed his fourth season with the Smokies, and his first as the team’s President. Chris had spent the last three campaigns as the team’s Vice President and COO. Prior to joining the organization, Allen worked for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, South Coast League, Salem Avalanche, Wilson Tobs, and Chillicothe Paints. While working for the Tobs, Chris also spent four years working with the NCAA directing regional baseball tournaments.
“The Smokies organization is proud of the selection of Chris Allen, our President and Chief Operating Officer, as the Southern League Outstanding Employee for 2016,” said Smokies’ Chief Executive Officer Doug Kirchhofer. “Since joining the Smokies in 2013, Chris has played a leading role in the significant growth of our business through our recent stadium improvements projects and with developing and expanding the Smokies’ staff. We are honored to have his leadership recognized by our League.”
Since joining the Smokies’ front office, Allen has played a vital role in the continued development of Smokies Stadium. Starting with the 2014 campaign, Chris has overseen three of the most successful seasons in organization history in regards to revenue and attendance. The franchise has broken their own single-season attendance marks in 2014 and then again this season, welcoming 293,694 fans through the gates. In addition, the Smokies set a franchise-best in average attendance in 2015 with a gate of 4,406 per contest.
As well, Allen has been at the forefront of several additions to the ballpark, including the Calhoun’s at the Yard Pavilion in left field, the Pioneer Porch in right, The Clubhouse sponsored by Floor and Décor on the luxury level and the Smoky Mountain Brewery Bullpen down the third-base line. These successes have all come even with the added responsibility of being the President and COO of Boyd Sports, Inc., overseeing not just the Smokies, but the team’s sister club, the Johnson City Cardinals, the Rookie affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
In addition to his work with the Smokies, Chris also owns Sayin’ It Loud, a transit advertising business in Southern Maryland/Washington D.C. area. Allen is a founding board member of the North Carolina Baseball Museum in Wilson, N.C. and graduted from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. with a degree in Sports Management. A Virginia native, he and his wife, Elisa, reside in Dandridge, Tenn. with their four children, Casey, Chase, Cara, and Charley.