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Indiana fires Tom Allen after seven seasons as head coach

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana football has parted ways with head coach Tom Allen, a source confirmed to

Zach Osterman of the IndyStar first reported the news.

Allen, 53, was at the helm of the Hoosier program for seven seasons. Overall, he spent eight seasons in the Indiana program, the first of which as defensive coordinator before being elevated to the position in the aftermath of Kevin Wilson's 2016 departure. Allen was immediately named the 29th head coach of Indiana's program in the aftermath.

“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,” Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson said in a release. “I want to thank Tom for all of the contributions he has made to IU in his seven years leading our program. His passion, character, and class made a positive impact on our student-athletes. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Upon the conclusion of the fourth year of a seven-year deal signed back in December of 2019 and amended in March of 2021, Allen's buyout originally owed him just north of $20 million. That payout figure would’ve been the third-highest sum to be paid to any coach in college football history.

However, the university and Allen have agreed on a financial settlement of two $7.75 million installments that will be paid through the department of athletics donor funds, the release said.

Indiana finished the 2023 campaign at 3-9, with just two wins coming over FBS opponents. An early November victory over Wisconsin was the Hoosiers' lone Big Ten victory in nine tries. IU brought up the rear in the Big Ten standings, regardless of division.

Allen addresses the media at the introduction of Rod Carey as Indiana's new offensive coordinator. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald Times)
Allen addresses the media at the introduction of Rod Carey as Indiana's new offensive coordinator. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald Times)

In his time as head coach, Indiana was just 33-49 overall and 18-43 in Big Ten play. Throughout his tenure, the Hoosiers reached bowl games in consecutive seasons in 2019 and 2020, having broke through the 5-7 glass ceiling that preluded the short stint of success. In the three years following, Allen-led teams went just 3-24 in conference play and just 9-27 overall, derailing any shred of momentum built up prior to the climax of his tenure.

The peaks of Allen's golden moments were among some of the most cherished in program history, certainly so in recent memory.

But after plunging into the deeper crevices loomed below, the marriage between Indiana and Allen ultimately bottomed out. Consecutive January bowl games for the first time in program history led to zero bowl victories, Allen's position ranking being about the only similarity from those two teams and the three that followed.

The loss to Purdue in the annual Old Oaken Bucket finale on Saturday means IU was victorious just once in six tries versus the Boilermakers under his tutelage. Allen's 33 wins as Indiana's head coach finishes tied for fifth in program history with James M. Horne, trailing only Bill Mallory, Lee Corso, Bo McMillin and James M. Sheldon.

Indiana's next move must come quickly and convincingly. Beyond footing the bill of the previous regime's exit, the subsequent move must also be done with conscious knowledge of the advancing NCAA timeline. The first period of the NCAA's newly amended transfer portal opens Monday, December 4 – a 30-day stretch that runs until Tuesday, January 2, 2024 – and Indiana has a 19-man recruiting class that is able to sign National Letters of Intent starting December 20.

The decision, falling upon the hands of athletic director Scott Dolson and the Hoosier athletic department, must be calculated and provide runway and resources aimed toward being able to compete and restore a competitive nature about the program in a new landscape of college football.

If not, Indiana runs risk of being swallowed up and passed over by the next generation of college football.

This impending process is as important as it gets for an athletic department and a program now searching for something to hang a hat on.

The clock is ticking.


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