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Monday, March 4
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Indiana fires head football coach Tom Allen after 7 seasons

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Indiana football has fired head coach Tom Allen after seven seasons together, IU Athletics announced in a press release Sunday. 

The Hoosiers paid $15.5 million to buy Allen out of the final three years of his contract, which was last restructured by athletic director Scott Dolson in March 2021.

"The university and Allen agreed on a financial settlement of two $7.75 million installments that will be paid through the department of athletics donor funds," IU Athletics said Sunday.

"After continued evaluation of our entire football program, I have determined that we have lost momentum and that a change in leadership is necessary at this time," Dolson said Sunday. "I want to thank Tom for all of the contributions he has made to IU in his seven years leading our program."

Allen compiled a career record of 33-49 and led the Hoosiers to bowl appearances in 2019 and 2020. Indiana’s 6-2 mark in 2020 was its best winning percentage since 1967, and the Hoosiers finished the year nationally ranked for the first time since 1988. Allen won Big Ten Coach of the Year and American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year awards for his efforts. 

Indiana elevated Allen, who started his career as a high school coach in Florida before taking on the same role at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, from defensive coordinator to head coach Dec. 1, 2016, following the resignation of then-head coach Kevin Wilson. 

Allen began his tenure coaching the Hoosiers in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl. Despite the University of Utah entering the game at 8-4 compared to Indiana’s 6-6, the Hoosiers kept the game close for a 26-24 loss. Although Indiana lost, the result provided optimism for the future. 

The Hoosiers finished 5-7 in Allen’s first full season in 2017, missing a bowl game for the first time in three seasons. The program saw much of the same results in 2018, finishing 5-7 once more as Allen turned over the roster with his own recruits. 

Indiana finished the 2019 regular season with an 8-4 record, defeating Purdue in double overtime — marking the only time Allen coached Indiana to Old Oaken Bucket victory. The Hoosiers took on the University of Tennessee in the Gator Bowl, collapsing in the fourth quarter en route to a 23-22 loss. 

The Hoosiers entered the 2020 season unsure of what was to come. With the COVID-19 pandemic creating unforeseen scheduling changes, Indiana opened the season with a 36-35 win over No. 7 Penn State on Oct. 24, 2020. Allen led Indiana to a 6-1 regular season with marquee wins over ranked squads in Michigan and Wisconsin while nearly defeating No. 3 Ohio State.  

Indiana took on the University of Mississippi in the Outback Bowl, marking consecutive seasons in which it reached January bowl games. Despite their regular season success, the Hoosiers fell to the Rebels 26-20 in what ended up being Allen’s last bowl game at the helm. 

Following one of the most successful campaigns in program history, Indiana posted a Big Ten worst 2-10 overall, 0-9 conference record. After the 2021 season, the Hoosiers lost current University of Washington star quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Michael Penix Jr. to the transfer portal. 

Indiana’s fortunes hardly improved in Allen’s sixth season in 2022. The Hoosiers finished second to last in the conference with a 4-8 overall, 2-7 Big Ten record. After a trio of wins to start the season, Indiana dropped eight of its ensuing nine contests. 

Marred largely by a lack of depth and inexperience at the quarterback position, Indiana finished a Big Ten worst 3-9 overall, 1-8 conference this season. Offensive coordinator Walt Bell — who Allen hired in December of 2021 — was fired after five games and replaced by Rod Carey. 

With Saturday’s 35-31 loss to Purdue, Indiana fell to 3-24 in conference play over the last three seasons, the worst mark in the Big Ten, and the second worst among Power Five schools in that span. 

Follow reporters Matt Press (@MattPress23) and Dalton James (@DaltonMJames) and columnist Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) for updates throughout the Indiana football season.

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