Randy Allee wasn't a stranger to success on the football field — the California High School lineman led his team in tackles during his junior and senior seasons and was named the team most valuable player his senior year. Allee always felt that although he and other Pinto football players worked hard on the field making holes for the quarterback and running backs to run through, the linemen never received the recognition they regularly deserved. His legacy ensures graduating Pintos since the program's 1993 season will be recognized.
Allee passed away at the age of 24 in 1994 — in his memory, his parents, Paul and Suzy Allee, established the Randy Paul Allee Scholarship for the best senior Pinto offensive or defensive lineman. The $1,000 award is given annually to a senior lineman that has played for four years and has plans to attend college after graduating from California High School.
Suzy Allee said when her son passed away, the family set up the scholarship immediately.
"We were just trying to think of something for a memorial," Suzy Allee said. "We thought about what was most important to him, (and it) was probably football. He had excelled at it. We decided that's what we wanted to do to honor his memory."
And so for the 1993 season, Earl Bolinger was awarded the first $500 scholarship. The Allees haven't missed a year since then, and three years even saw a pair of winners rather than just one deserving individual. The most recent winner from the recent 2019 season, Clayton Winkler, marks the 30th Pinto honored with the award since its founding.
Suzy Allee said the family thinks it's something Randy would be proud of, to be able to honor others who found success in the program.
Some past honorees have gone on to play at the collegiate level, but Suzy Allee said it's not a requirement that scholarship winners play past high school, nor is the award contingent on academic performance. They are, however, required to attend a two- or four-year college. If a student ultimately decides not to attend a college, the award goes to an alternate, though she said she can only think of once in the award's history that this happened.
"It's supposed to be someone that's really loved football and has done whatever the coach has asked without mouthing off, that kind of stuff," Suzy Allee said.
Paul Allee said the family didn't necessarily want to be the ones picking who received the award each year, so that duty was passed to the California High School coaching staff, who present the scholarship at each year's season awards banquet.
"We don't have any input on it," Paul Allee said. "My kids played football, and my grandkids, so we could have, but we wanted to not be (as) involved in it."
Suzy Allee chimed in — "(Because) sometimes we know the people in it, or maybe it's our good friend's kid, or even family."
And most importantly, the pair didn't want to make the award about them.
"We just like to stay in the background," Suzy Allee said. "We're very humble."
From the background, the pair is able to remember Randy in a tangible way.
"It's been good for us," Suzy Allee said. "It's kind of hard to stand up there and listen to them talk about (Randy) and hand the award out, but yet it makes us feel really proud. And knowing that Randy would be proud, because he wouldn't have dreamed that we would have done this."
And it's helping out young student athletes, Paul Allee said. Young men with drive who excel at what they do, and who have earned that very same recognition Randy thought players at his position deserve.