Coach. Allen had a highly successful stint as a gymnast at Lincoln High and UNL. He was Big 8 parallel bars champion in 1964 and a national finalist from 1962-64 with a top finish of fourth place in 1964.
His signicant contribution to high school sports came during his UNL coaching career where he took over the head coaching reins at UNL from his old mentor, Jake Geier in 1969. Francis went on to establish an enviable record in the college gymnastics, all the while maintaining a positive influence on the high school gymnastics scene. He has coached eight national championships (including five in a row), seven national runner-up finishes, 41 individual national titles, 11 Olympians, and 14 conference titles. A three-time national coach of the year, he led the Huskers to 17 straight NCAA Championship appearances from 1978 to 1995. The Huskers have competed in 21 of the last 27 NCAA Championships. Individually, his athletes have earned 162 All-America awards, won by 42 different gymnasts. And 14 Huskers have captured NCAA individual titles. Twice named to coach the U.S. Olympic Gymnastic team, he also received the College Gymnastics Association Honor Coach Award. Francis is presently serving his third term as College Gymnastics Association President.