Get to know the Buffalo Bills quarterback’s parents, Joel and LaVonne
Joel and LaVonne Allen are the proud parents of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
The athlete went from being an unknown in high school to the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft — and he credits his parents with providing unwavering support on his journey to success.
"Being here was not a mistake. It was not by chance. It was manufactured," the quarterback told 13WHAM News in 2020. “As little as I could remember, driving to school with my dad and he would take his cellphone and pretend to interview me like I had just won the Super Bowl."
Josh grew up in Firebaugh, California, with his parents and three siblings, Nicala, Makenna and Jason. When Josh was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2018, Joel recorded a personal message to his son.
“I know you’re going to do some amazing things, and your mom and dad, we’re 100% behind you,” Joel said. “I’m so proud of you. Love you son.”
Here’s everything to know about Josh Allen’s parents, Joel and LaVonne Allen.
They have been married for over three decades
Joel and LaVonne grew up in adjacent towns and eventually crossed paths at California Polytechnic State University, according to The Buffalo News. LaVonne was a fashion design and merchandising major and dance team member, while Joel studied agribusiness. They married on Sept. 17, 1988.
“Seems like yesterday, Time flies when your having fun!” Joel captioned an anniversary post on Facebook in 2014. “Look forward to many more with this beautiful woman - Happy Anniversary LaVonnie, Love ya."
They have four children
Josh is the second of Joel and LaVonne’s four children. The couple have two daughters, Nicala and Makenna, and another son, Jason. In 2017, LaVonne remarked on the close-knit relationship between the siblings.
“They’re the best of friends, and people see it,” she told the Casper Star-Tribune. “They’re like, ‘What have you guys done with your family that they’re so close?’ I go, ‘I don’t know. We just support each other, and I wanted my kids to do that, too.’ Maybe the way that the boys were together, they don’t know not having each other. The push and the drive on both of them was really good.”
The siblings often travel to see their brother in action throughout the season.
“Wow what a season ... @joshallenqb you gave so many people something to cheer for in a year full of uncertainty," Mckenna wrote in a January 2021 Instagram post. “This season may not have ended how we wanted it to, but I am beyond proud of everything you have accomplished thus far and I’m very excited to see what the future holds for you. So proud of you brother, Love you.”
Joel and LaVonne both come from farming backgrounds
Joel is a third-generation farmer from Firebaugh, California. His father and uncle started Allen Brothers Farming, which Joel and his twin brother Todd have since taken over. LaVonne’s father, Vaughn Von Allman, grows cotton, alfalfa and cantaloupes on his 3,000 acres of land in the Central Valley.
Josh was actively involved in the family business growing up.
“We basically have row crops — cotton, cantaloupes, small grains — and a lot of it requires sprinklers or movable irrigation pipes, and Josh was always involved in that,” Joel told The Denver Post in 2017. “If I wanted him to drive a tractor, he was there. He even chopped cotton. He did it all. I think that helped him with his work ethic. He’s not afraid of hard work.”
The Buffalo Bills quarterback echoed his father’s sentiment while speaking to ESPN the same year, saying, "Seeing my dad wake up super early when the sun wasn't even out and then coming home when the sun was set, he worked his tail off to provide for our family and did a great job. He's the most selfless man I know, and I think if I'm half the man he is, I'll be all right in this world."
LaVonne is a former restaurant owner
LaVonne ran The Farmer's Daughter, a restaurant that catered to the early morning farming crowd and was one of the few dining establishments in Firebaugh. Her sons often lent a hand during their school lunch breaks to help take the pressure off their mother.
“I would have other waitresses and whatnot, but I would (have) dishes to the ceiling,” LaVonne told the Casper Star-Tribune. “They’d come in and pump out the dishes before they came back to school. They always knew where I was, so it was just a perfect time to have it.”
The family matriarch eventually gave up the business to accommodate Josh’s football travel schedule.
“I’d come back, I’d have payroll, I’d be back there (working),” she added. “I was constantly on my phone because there’s ordering of the supplies and a lot of stuff that has to go on, that has to be taken care of, whether you’re there or not. And for 13 weeks we traveled. Come Christmas time, I was an exhausted mess.”
Joel and LaVonne were both coaches
Not only were the Allen children very active in sports, but their parents were coaches as well. In addition to coaching Pop Warner, Joel was president of the swim team and the Cal Ripken baseball organization; LaVonne coached volleyball and basketball, too.
“As Josh and our boys started getting out, we’ve definitely passed the torch,” LaVonne told the Casper Star-Tribune. “But growing up, we’ve been very active parents. Every weekend was filled with us doing some sort of activity. ... The town kind of shuts down. Everybody is at different sporting events. It’s just what we do.”
Joel sang at his son’s alma mater
Before joining the NFL, Josh was a quarterback at the University of Wyoming for three seasons.
In 2022, Joel made a surprise appearance at Josh's alma mater to sing the national anthem ahead of the Cowboys' game against the Air Force Academy. Joel was joined by his wife on the field, and the couple donned Josh's No. 17 Bills jersey for the event.
"They ended up winning the game. I'm proud of him,” the quarterback said of his father on Kyle Brandt's Basement. “I'm proud of the Cowboys. But I'm proud of my dad for going out there and doing that. He's sang national anthems as a kid. You know, in baseball games and our football games growing up. So, for him to do that in a bigger stage, it was pretty cool to see."
They frequently attend Josh's games
Joel and LaVonne frequently attend Josh's games, making weekend trips across the country to watch him play. They were mainstays at their son's collegiate matches too, with Joel telling the Casper-Star Tribune in 2017, he "didn’t miss one game" last season.
"It was a (challenge), but totally worth it," he added. "I think there would be a lot of dads that would kill to be in my position.”
LaVonne also said, “We never had anticipated this happening to Josh this quickly. We always had dreams and hopes that he would someday get there, but this has just been kind of a crazy ride.”
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