NCAA Football: Indiana at Purdue

Indiana has fired football coach Tom Allen, the school announced on Sunday. The move to part ways with Allen comes in the wake of a 35-31 loss to rival Purdue on Saturday as the Hoosiers limped to a 3-9 record in the 2023 season. The loss put a stamp on the third consecutive losing season for the program under Allen. The Hoosiers posted a 9-26 record over the last three seasons, the second-worst mark in the Power Five. 

A long-term contract signed in 2020 made firing Allen difficult, however. Allen was due more than $20 million, trailing Jimbo Fisher and Gus Malzahn as the third-largest buyout in college football history. In a university statement announcing the firing, it was revealed the two sides had agreed to reduce the buyout to $15.5 million will Allen being paid in $7.75 million installments. 

"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 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 later released a statement thanking the university for his time and urging those around Indiana to better adjust to the modern college football landscape. 

"It has been my greatest professional honor to serve as Indiana's head football coach for the past seven years," Allen said. "Representing this University and this State has meant more to me than you can imagine.  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.  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. 

"College football has changed dramatically over the past several years.  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 that IU does just that."

Allen took over as Hoosiers coach in December 2016 in the wake of former boss Kevin Wilson resigning from the post after an investigation into player mistreatment. Hired from South Florida in January 2016 to serve as defensive coordinator, the school promoted Allen to the full-time position after he engineered one of the most overall impressive defensive turnarounds in the country. 

The Indiana native showed signs of life early in his tenure, leading the Hoosiers to their first eight-win season in 25 years in 2019. His biggest success with the program came during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. A dramatic win over Penn State in the opener ended with a 6-2 record and appearance in the Outback Bowl against Ole Miss. That team was led by quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who has since transferred from the program and has put together a Heisman-worthy season in 2023 with No. 4 Washington

Allen had a knack for finding great staffers early in his tenure. The 2019 team boasted Kalen DeBoer as offensive coordinator, who has since gone 35-11 as an FBS head coach at Washington and Fresno State. Kane Wommack was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2019 at just 32 years old. He went on to take the job at South Alabama, leading the Jaguars to the first 10-win season in program history. 

Since that 2020 season, Allen's teams have tanked. The Hoosiers went 2-10 in 2021, 4-8 in 2022 and 3-9 in 2023, leading to the change. Allen failed to recapture the staff magic and went through three offensive coordinators in three years. The Hoosiers were 3-24 in conference play.