Douglas Allred ’57 looks back on his days at the University of Arizona with fondness: taking life-altering classes, playing college football — and meeting the love of his life.
It was his senior year, and it was that magical time when students arrived on campus for the first time. Allred knew the Student Union was the place to meet new students.
And there she was: Ann McClelland, another Californian. “I introduced myself and added, ‘Can I show you around?’ She accepted right away,” Allred recalls. He told his teammates it was his last date, since he had no intention of dating anyone else.
He recalls that encounter as the year’s “greatest moment.” He and Ann would be married for 57 years, building a life together with five children and several decades of successful real estate development. Ann died in 2013 of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the nerve-destroying disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
As for football, Allred became the team’s long-snapper and a lineman under Coach Warren Woodson. He says he got to play football with Art Luppino. Known as the Cactus Comet, Luppino was an NCAA rushing and scoring leader.
He spent his freshman year living in East Stadium Dorm with his roommate, quarterback Dalton Cole. During an unauthorized visit to the Pi Phi house balcony, Cole recalls, Allred dropped his wallet. When his adventure was discovered, he was summoned before the Dean of Men for a stern lecture. The ’50s were fun.
On the academic side, Allred says economics changed his life. He had been taking English and public speaking classes, but, he says, “I had a very wise instructor in economics. He told us to remember one thing: supply and demand. When demand is high and supply is low, prices soar. When demand is low, prices plummet. It works in everything. It’s a universal law.”
Those lessons helped shape a successful career in real estate development — but not before a stint in the U.S. Navy.
In high school, Allred had become interested in the Naval Reserve Officer Candidate Program. In the summers, he went to Newport, Rhode Island, for training, and after his UArizona graduation he became a commissioned officer. He served for three and a half years in an underwater demolition unit that later became the legendary SEAL Team 5.
“It was as challenging as all hell,” he says. “Only 20% of new trainees made it.”
A highlight of those years, he recalls, came in Kodiak, Alaska, where the U.S. Navy wanted to discover whether it was possible for a team to sneak in and out of a Russian submarine base.
“We did,” he says. “And we weren’t seen. It was pretty exciting.”
After his Navy service, Allred entered real estate with Coldwell Banker and soon ranked among the top 5% in the company’s sales force. In 1970, he founded Lion Property Corporation, which he ran for 11 years. Then, in 1981, he formed the Douglas Allred Company, where he still serves as CEO. His companies have developed more than 6,300 residential units and 13 million square feet of commercial, industrial and retail space.
Today, at 87, Allred enjoys time with his 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He also wants to keep showing up for the Wildcat football and basketball teams. He recently become a donor to the UArizona sports programs, with gifts to Arizona Athletics totaling $4.8 million for program enhancements in football and men’s basketball and for the Lute Olson Endowment for Excellence in Men’s Basketball. On Aug. 1, Athletics unveiled the Doug and Ann Allred Football Locker Room.
What about retiring? Allred says he doesn’t want to anytime soon. “I love it,” he said in a phone interview from his corporate office in San Diego. “I don’t need to do it. I’m just still having fun.”
His advice to the rest of us: “Do stuff you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, quit doing it.”