November 26, 2023

IU football coach Tom Allen fired, gets $15.5M buyout

Indiana head coach Tom Allen talks with the defense during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Bloomington, Ind. - AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Indiana head coach Tom Allen talks with the defense during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Bloomington, Ind.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Indiana University announced Sunday afternoon it had fired head football coach Tom Allen.

The university and Allen agreed to a $15.5 million buyout, about $5 million less than what Allen was owed based on terms of a contract extension signed in 2021, according to Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson.

Allen will be paid in two $7.75 million installments by athletic department donor funds.

Dolson announced a national search for a successor will “begin immediately.”

The move came one day after the Hoosiers ended their 2023 season with a 35-31 loss at Purdue – the third straight game IU lost a late lead. The Hoosiers finished the season 3-9 overall and 1-8 in the Big Ten.

Indiana went 33-49 overall and 18-43 in the Big Ten in Allen’s seven seasons as head coach.

Allen said in a statement it had been his "greatest professional honor" to coach Indiana.

"Our entire journey here has been based on a simple concept - Love. Each. Other. It's what we've done, it's what we'll always do. I continue to believe it's a recipe to change the world," Allen said in the statement.

"There have been so many incredible memories made and relationships formed. I'll always be grateful for the players, coaches and staff who believed in our vision and gave their heart and soul for this program."

He also had urged the university to embrace the changes in college football Allen often lamented about - finding enough NIL money to compete with other programs and succeeding in the transfer portal.

"College football has changed dramatically over the past several years," he said in the statement. "Some of those changes have been a shock to the conscience of those who support IU football. The time has come to fully embrace those changes and I pray IU does just that.

"To each and every player who put on the Crimson and Cream over the past 7 seasons, I love you, thank you and God bless. #LEO"

After going 5-7 in his first two seasons, Allen led Indiana to bowl games in 2019 and 2020, the pandemic-shortened season when the Hoosiers went 6-1 in the Big Ten and finished the season ranked No. 13, earning Allen the league’s coach of the year award.

But things spiraled downward quickly. Indiana began the 2021 season ranked No. 17 in the nation but went just 2-10 overall and 0-9 in the Big Ten.

The next two seasons, IU managed just three Big Ten wins, ultimately costing Allen his job.

"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 in a statement. “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."

Allen was hired as the defensive coordinator at IU in January 2016 by then-head coach Kevin Wilson. He was then promoted to head coach on Dec. 1, 2016, after Wilson’s resignation. Allen made his head coaching debut in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl.

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