Tom Allen (American football)

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Tom Allen
Allen in 2021
Current position
TitleHead coach
ConferenceBig Ten
Annual salary$3.9 million [1]
Biographical details
Born (1970-03-14) March 14, 1970 (age 51)
New Castle, Indiana
Alma materMaranatha Baptist University
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1992Temple Heights HS (FL) (DC)
1993Temple Heights HS (FL) (DC/interim head coach)
1994Temple Heights HS (FL)
1995–1996Armwood HS (FL) (DC)
1997Marion HS (IN) (DC)
1998–2003Ben Davis HS (IN) (DC)
2004–2006Ben Davis HS (IN)
2007Wabash (DB/ST)
2008–2009Lambuth (AHC/DC/LB)
2010Drake (DC/LB)
2011Arkansas State (AHC)
2012–2014Ole Miss (LB/ST)
2015South Florida (DC)
2016Indiana (DC)
Head coaching record
Overall26–32 (college)
Accomplishments and honors

Thomas E. Allen (born March 14, 1970) is an American college football coach serving as the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers football team. Allen previously served as the defensive coordinator at Indiana and South Florida. He spent time as an assistant at Ole Miss, Arkansas State, and Drake, among other programs. A native of New Castle, Indiana, Allen also spent six seasons as defensive coordinator and three seasons as the head football coach at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.

Early life and education[edit]

Allen played high school football at New Castle High School in New Castle, Indiana, where his father (also named Tom Allen) was the head football coach. While in high school, Allen also competed in shot put and wrestling. After high school, he attended Maranatha Baptist University, where he participated in football and wrestling.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

High school (1992–2006)[edit]

Following their college graduation from Maranatha Baptist University, Allen and his wife moved to Florida, where both began teaching.[2] Allen's first coaching job was with Temple Heights Christian School in Tampa, Florida, as defensive coordinator. Allen started in 1992; he took over as head coach during the 1993 season after the resignation of Steve Lewis, who remained the athletic director.[3] In 1994, his only full season as Temple Heights head coach, Allen went 8–3 and lead his team to their first playoff appearance since 1976. Allen was a finalist for the Hillsborough County coach of the year award.[4] The following year, Allen left to become defensive coordinator at Armwood High School in nearby Seffner, Florida.[5]

In 1997, following two years at Armwood, Allen moved back to his native Indiana to become defensive coordinator at Marion High School in Marion, Indiana. Under Allen, Marion's allowed points-per-game dropped from 29 to 16.6. After just one year at Marion, Allen took the defensive coordinator job at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. The head coach at Ben Davis was the legendary Dick Dullaghan, whom Allen had come to know through the former's football camps in Lakeland, Florida.[2] Dullaghan retired after the 2003 season and Allen succeeded him as head coach.[6] Allen coached Ben Davis from 2004 to 2006. In those three seasons, his teams were 25–12 overall. Following the 2006 season, Allen moved up to the college coaching ranks, accepting an assistant coach job at Wabash College.[7]

Wabash (2007)[edit]

At Wabash, Allen coached defensive backs and special teams.[7] Wabash competed in the North Coast Athletic Conference of NCAA Division III. Its head coach, Chris Creighton, was in the final year of a successful seven-year tenure. Following the 2007 season, Creighton left to become head coach at Drake University.[8]

Lambuth (2008–2009)[edit]

Allen joined the coaching staff of incoming head coach Hugh Freeze at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee, as defensive coordinator. Freeze would be there for two years before leaving to become offensive coordinator at San Jose State University (and later Arkansas State University), departing after the 2009 season. Allen and defensive backs coach Ron Dickerson were internal candidates to succeed Freeze. Lambuth, which would shut down within a year, hired Dickerson, and Allen departed to become defensive coordinator at Drake.[9]

Drake (2010)[edit]

At Drake he was reunited with Creighton, now entering his third year there. Allen succeeded Neal Neathery, who had left to become defensive coordinator at the University of Texas at San Antonio.[10] Allen left after the season to rejoin Hugh Freeze, who had been promoted to head coach at Arkansas State.

Arkansas State (2011)[edit]

In 2011, Allen served as the assistant head coach at Arkansas State, his first position with a Division I FBS program. The head coach during this time was Hugh Freeze, who Allen had previously coached with at Lambuth University.[11] After the end of the regular season, Allen followed Freeze to Ole Miss after Freeze was hired to be the head coach of the Rebels. In his sole season with the Red Wolves, they went 10–2.[12]

Ole Miss (2012–2014)[edit]

From 2012 to 2014, Allen spent three seasons as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Ole Miss under head coach Hugh Freeze.[13] During his time in Oxford, the Rebels went 24–15 and consistently ranked near the top of the FBS in terms of tackles for loss and sacks. Prior to his arrival, Ole Miss had ranked last in the SEC in total defense.[citation needed]

South Florida (2015)[edit]

On December 17, 2014, Allen was named defensive coordinator at South Florida under third-year head coach Willie Taggart.[14] In his lone season in Tampa, Allen's defensive unit ranked first in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in scoring defense at just 19.6 points per conference game. His efforts also saw the team's defense rank high nationally, tying for 13th nationally in tackles for loss (7.5 per game), 14th in interceptions (17), 24th in takeaways (25), 26th in sacks (2.62 per game), 31st in rushing defense (141.4 ypg), 34th in passing efficiency defense (118.76), and 35th in scoring defense (22.9 ppg).[citation needed]

Allen was considered a candidate for the defensive coordinator position at Auburn following then-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's departure in December 2015, but the vacant position was ultimately filled by Kevin Steele.[15][16]

Indiana (2016–present)[edit]

Allen was hired on January 15, 2016, to serve as defensive coordinator on head coach Kevin Wilson's staff at Indiana.[17] In replacing previous defensive coordinator Brian Knorr, Allen took over a defense that ranked #120 in the FBS in total defense and #106 in opponent points scored. After just one season, Allen engineered one of the top defensive turnarounds in the country with the team improving in every major statistical category against a schedule featuring four top-10 opponents, a program first. The Hoosiers were the most improved team nationally in total defense (-169.4 ypg) and passing defense (-134.1 ypg), the sixth-most improved in third-down defense (-12.2 percent) and the ninth-most improved in points per game allowed (-12.3 ypg).[citation needed]

On December 1, 2016, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass named Allen head coach after Wilson's sudden resignation, forcing Allen to make his coaching debut during the team's final game of the season at the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl.[18] His contract guaranteed him $1.795 million annually — $500,000 per year in base pay, plus $1.295 million per year in outside, marketing, and promotional income. This made Allen the lowest-paid head coach in the Big Ten, although various bonuses could take his total compensation above $3 million.[19]

Allen quickly elevated Indiana's recruiting posture. During his first two seasons as head coach, a school-record number of players earned conference honors and a school record were drafted or invited to NFL camps. The 2019 signing class was the highest-rated in program history, besting his previous top-ranked class of 2018, and the two classes combined constituting 80 of the team's 115-man roster.[20] In 2019, Allen's third season, he led Indiana to its first 7–2 start since 1993, the last season Indiana won eight games.[21] That season Indiana earned a #24 ranking in the Associated Press and #25 ranking in the coaches poll, the team's first top 25 ranking in football since 1994.[22] His 18 wins over his first three seasons were the most for an Indiana coach in the post-World War II era.[23] Indiana finished the regular season with an 8–4 record, its first eight-win since 1993, and its 5-4 Big Ten record its first winning conference record since 1993.[24] Following the regular season, Allen and the school agreed to a new seven-year contract with an average annual compensation of $3.9 million.

Indiana's first game of the 2020 season took place at Memorial Stadium on October 24, 2020, against the #8 Penn State Nittany Lions. The Hoosiers defeated Penn State 36–35 in overtime.[25] The Hoosiers were awarded a ranking of #17 following the victory.[26] Indiana's next two games included a 37–21 victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and a 38–21 victory over the #23 Michigan Wolverines, their first victory over them in 33 years.[27] Following the win versus the Wolverines, the Hoosiers were ranked tenth in both the AP and coaches poll, their highest rankings since 1969 and 1992.[28] Indiana finished the 2020 regular season 6-1 (shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic), ranked seventh in the AP poll, eighth in the coaches poll, and 11th in the CFP rankings and earned a bid in the Outback Bowl, where they lost to Ole Miss, 20–26. Following the culmination of the season, Allen would be named the 2020 Big Ten Coach of the Year, as well as the AFCA Coach of the Year.[29][30]

Allen's 2021 Indiana team was ranked 17th to begin the 2021 season, but quickly fell out of the rankings after a 34-6 loss to Iowa in their first game of the season.[31] The team finished the season 2-10 and went 0-9 in Big Ten play.[32] Immediately following Indiana's last game of the season, offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan was fired and Allen took a $200,000 pay cut to help pay for the firing.[33] Allen stated "this season was not acceptable and we will work to address it."[34]

Personal life[edit]

Allen is a Christian and a supporter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.[35]

Allen is married to Tracy Allen. They have three children together.[36]

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Indiana Hoosiers (Big Ten Conference) (2016–present)
2016 Indiana 0–1 0–0 4th (East) L Foster Farms
2017 Indiana 5–7 2–7 7th (East)
2018 Indiana 5–7 2–7 6th (East)
2019 Indiana 8–5 5–4 4th (East) L Gator
2020 Indiana 6–2 6–1 2nd (East) L Outback 13 12
2021 Indiana 2–10 0–9 7th (East)
Indiana: 26–32 15–28
Total: 26–32


  1. ^ "IU football head coach Tom Allen signs 7-year contract".
  2. ^ a b c Osterman, Zach (August 28, 2017). "Wherever Tom Allen goes, improvement follows". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Gaddis, Carter (October 9, 1993). "Allen finds ascent quick to Temple Heights job". Tampa Tribune. p. 69. Retrieved November 14, 2020 – via Free to read
  4. ^ Knight, Joey (December 16, 1994). "Nelson earns coaching honor". Tampa Tribune. p. 25. Retrieved November 14, 2020 – via Free to read
  5. ^ "Prep Notebook: Football". Tampa Tribune. May 23, 1995. p. 5. Retrieved November 14, 2020 – via Free to read
  6. ^ "Year after year, Giants finish with big season". The Herald. August 26, 2004. p. 42. Retrieved November 14, 2020 – via Free to read
  7. ^ a b McKee, Pat (March 6, 2007). "Kirschner steps up to lead Ben Davis". The Indianapolis Star. p. D6. Retrieved November 14, 2020 – via Free to read
  8. ^ Witosky, Tom (December 23, 2007). "New Drake coach had big success in Div. III". Des Moines Register. p. 24. Retrieved December 26, 2019 – via Free to read
  9. ^ Vines, Matt (January 7, 2010). "Source: Dickerson to be new head coach". The Jackson Sun. p. 11. Retrieved November 14, 2020 – via Free to read
  10. ^ Johnson, Dan (April 3, 2010). "College Football: Drake holding first spring scrimmage today in full pads". Des Moines Register. p. 28. Retrieved November 14, 2020 – via Free to read
  11. ^ Dodd, Dennis (July 24, 2017). "Indiana coach, ex-Ole Miss assistant Tom Allen 'shocked' by Hugh Freeze misconduct". CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  12. ^ Aschoff, Edward; Scarborough, Alex (July 21, 2017). "Hugh Freeze's roller-coaster tenure at Ole Miss: A timeline". ABC News. American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  13. ^ Robbins, Kyle (February 23, 2017). "No, you don't need to worry about Tom Allen and Grant Heard amid Ole Miss' NCAA allegations. Here's why". The Crimson Quarry. SB Nation. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  14. ^ Newberg, Josh (December 17, 2014). "Tom Allen officially named defensive coordinator". CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  15. ^ Stevens, Matthew (December 13, 2015). "REPORT: South Florida DC Tom Allen candidate for Auburn". Montgomery Advertiser. Gannett. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  16. ^ Stevens, Matthew (December 1, 2016). "Former Auburn DC candidate Tom Allen named new Indiana head coach". Montgomery Advertiser. Gannett. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  17. ^ Robbins, Kyle (January 16, 2016). "Indiana football hires South Florida's Tom Allen, fires Brian Knorr in change at defensive coordinator". The Crimson Quarry. SB Nation. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  18. ^ Osterman, Zach (December 1, 2016). "Kevin Wilson resigns; Tom Allen named new IU head coach". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  19. ^ Osterman, Zach (June 19, 2017). "Breaking down Tom Allen's new IU football contract". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  20. ^ Osterman, Zach (October 26, 2019). "Fred Glass vindicated in Tom Allen decision: IU 'program is going in the right direction'". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  21. ^ Bozich, Rick (November 3, 2019). "After $12.6 million in Big Ten wins, will Tom Allen have Indiana ranked?". WDRB. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  22. ^ Glenesk, Matthew (November 4, 2019). "Indiana football is ranked. A lot has changed since it was top 25-worthy". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  23. ^ Osterman, Zach (November 4, 2019). "IU football coach Tom Allen likely to get a big raise after this season". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  24. ^ Press, The Associated (November 30, 2019). "Ramsey helps Hoosiers reclaim Bucket with OT win over Purdue". 13 WTHR Indianapolis. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  25. ^ Osterman, Zach (October 24, 2020). "OH MY! 3 reasons IU football upset Penn State in overtime — by the nose of a football". Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  26. ^ Blau, Jon (October 25, 2020). "IU football earns highest ranking since 1993 after opening with Penn State upset". Bloomington Herald-Times. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  27. ^ Yeary, Jackson (November 7, 2020). "Indiana beats No. 23 Michigan for first time in 33 years to remain undefeated". The Times of Northwest Indiana. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  28. ^ Rabjohns, Jeff (November 8, 2020). "Top 10! IU receives its highest ranking in coaches poll". Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  29. ^ "Big Ten Completes Football All-Conference Awards with Special Teams and Select Individual Honors" (PDF). January 13, 2021. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  30. ^ "INDIANA'S TOM ALLEN NAMED 2020 WERNER LADDER AFCA FBS NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR". January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Tom Allen on faith, his New Castle roots and Year 2 with Indiana football". The Star Press. Gannett. April 26, 2018. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  36. ^ "TOM ALLEN". Retrieved October 28, 2020.

External links[edit]