IU investing in DeBoer, offensive turnaround

To get the offensive coordinator he wanted, Tom Allen needed help.

Merely offering control of his offense and a chance to work in the Big Ten wasn’t going to be enough. Allen also required a meaningful financial investment from Indiana University’s athletic department.

In hiring Kalen DeBoer away from Fresno State, the IU football coach seemed to get exactly that.

DeBoer’s total annual salary of $800,000 will make him the highest-paid assistant in Indiana football history, a sign of commitment from IU’s administration. IU athletic director Fred Glass has been outspoken about both his desire and intention to fund and support a football program that is crucial to his department’s overall health.

With DeBoer’s hiring, Glass put the department’s money where his mouth is.

“We’ve got to compete, and you’ve got to be able to step up, and Fred absolutely was 100 percent supportive of that,” Allen said. “(He) trusted me to be able to say this is the guy we believe in, this is the guy we’ve selected, and this is what we’re going to need to do to get him.”

According to DeBoer’s contract, which was obtained by The Herald-Times through an open records request, the new offensive coordinator will make $500,000 in base salary, plus an additional $300,000 in outside, marketing and promotional income.

Built into the contract are several performance-based bonuses, which are standard fare for assistants at this level. DeBoer will receive separate $25,000 bonuses if:

— Indiana scores 30 ore more points in at least 60 percent of its games.
— Indiana ranks fourth or higher among Big Ten teams in average points per game.
— Indiana ranks fourth or higher among Big Ten teams in total offense.
— Indiana ranks fourth or higher among Big Ten teams in red zone efficiency.

DeBoer will also receive a bonus equal to one month of his base salary (approximately $41,000) if the Hoosiers make a bowl appearance while he’s on staff.

IU’s previous offensive coordinator, Mike DeBord, was compensated with a $502,500 base salary in 2018. According to the USA Today assistant coaches salary database, DeBoer made $333,048 in salary last season at Fresno State.

The Hoosiers are investing in DeBoer’s track record for fixing moribund offenses. At Fresno State, where DeBoer spent the past two seasons, the Bulldogs ranked 120th nationally in total offense the year before he took over the offense. This past fall, Fresno State ranked 47th in the country.

During a three-year run at Eastern Michigan, DeBoer experienced similar success. His first offense in Ypsilanti, Mich. ranked 111th in the country before improving to No. 35 in his final season.

“The bottom line is, where he’s coming from, they want him to stay,” Allen said, “and they do everything they can to create a situation for him to do that. … You fight for what you want, both here and with getting him, and that’s part of us taking another step as a program, in my mind, and being able to put ourselves in a position to say that we’re going to invest in this program.”

In addition to coaching salaries, Indiana has shown an ability to spread money around its football program in recent years. The department updated the football team room in the bowels of Memorial Stadium this past fall with new decor and permanent, stadium-style seating.

A renovation of IU’s football locker room is also in the works, thanks in part to a $2 million donation from former captain Terry Tallen.

“It’s a facility investment, it’s a staff investment, and that’s part of raising the bar for what I view is the importance of this football program at Indiana University, which drew me here when I saw Fred Glass’s vision,” Allen said. “I had Fred talk to Kalen on the phone, as well, in this process to be able to show him that we’re committed and invested here to getting this program to where I believe it is going to be.”


  1. “IU athletic director Fred Glass has been outspoken about both his desire and intention to fund and support a football program that is crucial to his department’s overall health.” Yes, but up until now, Fred’s been all talk and minimal investment. Why finally make the investment now? Why not five years ago when our best assistant coaches were getting poached every year? Why not two years ago when he promoted a man with no head-coaching experience and needed help with the offense? Since Fred Glass would not know a quality Offensive Coordinator from a bag boy at a grocery store, what motivated him to make the investment for DeBoer now? Could it be he’s starting to feel the heat? Could it be that Fred finally realized that he could not build a winning football program on the cheep? Could it be that he was afraid of being the most ineffective IU AD in history? Or maybe he’s finally out from under those expensive severance payments owed to Wilson and Crean?

    And by the way, I was right. DeBoer’s salary is $500,000, with the additional $300,000 coming from “outside, marketing and promotional income.” Not diminishing the package or Fred’s unprecedented investment, but I never believed DeBoer’s “base salary” would exceed what IU was paying DeBord.

    1. When a fan or opponent reads about IU hiring DeBoer the only figure that will stick in their mind will be $800k. If some of the $ comes from outside that absolutely displays solid support for the job AD Glass does leading the programs in his department. I tip my hat to him.

    2. Who was poached?
      Littrell wasn’t, he took a $115k PAY CUT (33%) when taking the UNC job, he left because it was a career move so he would be solely responsible for an offense (not under Wilson’s shadow, without Johns having the Co-OC title).
      IU didn’t lose another assistant until Frey and McCullough left, both of which IU counter-offered with more than Mich and USC initially offered, but IU still got turned down.
      Plus, if Allen had the ability to pay $1M+ for an OC 2 years ago, I still think Allen would have hired DeBord, as I think Allen was looking more for a personal mentor he trusted than an OC.

    3. base pay vs outside/marketing income is just internal accounting semantics. IU’s contracts generally stipulate that only the base pay is guaranteed in the case of termination, so base pay just sets the contract buyout amount

  2. Another big weekend for official visits. I wasn’t feeling super confident a couple of weeks ago about who they could still possibly sign but it’s starting to look like we’ll finish strong!

  3. Fact. 0 wins
    And offense has not scored a single point under new OC thus far.
    Whether it is minimum wage or a million bucks.

    1. t- great “fact”, but completely meaningless as there have been no games. Those of us watching real events will focus on meaningful facts: the end of recruiting, weight and strength conditioning, spring ball, summer commitment and drills, fall camp, and the first game! See you there!

  4. Has anyone actually seen DeBoer’s contract? ‘Til then, it’s impossible to say whether the $300k on top of base is paid by IU (in whole or in part). When Ty Willingham went to UWash, about half his reported salary was indeed from an outside marketing gig w/Nike or some company like that. But I’ve seen other contracts where the university was paying other money on top of the base for all manner of marketing “respsonsibilities” or whatever. As I’ve mentioned, Tiller’s compensation at Pee-yew included a separate six-figure gig for “administering” the summer sports program there. Can you say “ghost payroller?” Anywho, I submitted a FOIA request to IU for DeBoer’s contract. We’ll see how long it takes . . . .

    1. This is fairly standard for IU’s contracts. When Wilson’s contract has a head coach was renewed, he had a base salary of just $500k with $1.8M in outside/promotional income. Its internal accounting semantics more than anything, and is really only important for the buyout clause, were its only the base salary that’s guaranteed.

  5. If TA fails, Glass will have to replace him and his staff. That will cost more than 10 times the $300,000 increase he is paying for DeBoer. So is it a commitment to the program or just a hedge against future expenses? Either way, this was an easy increase for Glass to justify.

    1. t- This is for you. I listened to it quite a long time ago…Stumbled back upon it tonight. I found it to be rare and honest look from a true patriot speaking from the heart about community and the America he once knew. I find much of it to parallel what we find in sports today….and why it’s so difficult to build camaraderie in teams with so little “one for all” purpose.


  6. PO: Perhaps Fred had to invest in the facilities first and then more expensive coaches as a next stage. The board of trustees probably would not give him the bucks to do both at once. It would make sense to build the better facilities first to give potential coaches a more impressive demonstration of I.U. support to build a program and then add in the bigger bucks to secure said coaches.

  7. I sometimes wonder how much each win actually costs IU Football…in terms of all the cash outlays over the last 30-40 years.
    And as we have spent more…and more…and more, has it ever made any difference with regard to return(wins) on investment?

    Not that basketball has been much better if your calculations are based on NCAA tournament wins in the ROI calculation. 40 million over the last nine seasons in hoops for what? We never even played in the second weekend of March Madness. Sure doesn’t stop the salaries from being madness.

  8. Don’t worry about the math. Ok to be concerned about wins and losses. Just don’t worry about the math. Those at the top of the pyramid in this society/country of the hierarchy of mankind always take care of that. Go watch a game or talk about it on Facebook, or a blog. Express your opinion, complain, vote. Just don’t worry about the math because the top of the pyramid of man/woman kind always takes care of that.

  9. Who62: I like your thinking and believe you are spot on. How many of us on this site has any personal, bonafide knowledge of what IU’s football facilities and overall program looked like compared to the rest of the league when Fred Glass came aboard at IU? It’s one thing to see what a football stadium looks like on television. It’s a far cry from what the players experience on a day in/out basis. For all we know, the bowels of Memorial Stadium and the associated football facilities may have looked like a slight step above a JUCO compared to the rest of the Big10.

    Fred Glass runs an athletic department, not just the high profile sports of IU football and men’s basketball. There are 10 men’s programs and 12 women’s programs. His overall body of work speaks for itself. Of course he has made mistakes along the way, and perhaps football has been the one sport where he has had the greatest number of hiccups. But look at what he has done across the board in terms of facilities and hires. My impression is that IU is on par or nearly so with every other athletic department in the Big10. Even the long neglected, low priority golf course is finally being renovated. And it was an outdated facility when I arrived at IU in 1988, for crying out loud.

    Naysayers will be naysayers. We are all entitled to our opinions and to express them, given the great opportunity of freedom of speech in this amazing country. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: since becoming an IU fan in 1988, I think IU football is far and away positioned and poised to have a run of success that is unparalleled in the history of the program. I firmly believe that Fred Glass made an outstanding hire in Tom Allen, and hope that time proves me right. I defy anyone to name another coach who would have come anywhere near the level of enthusiasm that Tom Allen has for the state of Indiana. He truly has a vested personal interest in the state, and IU is pretty much his dream job. Building a program takes time. I was as frustrated as anybody when IU lost some games this last year I think they should have or could have won. But I believe Tom Allen has learned from his mistakes and made great strides in this off season. He is now running the program as a head coach. He has a Defensive Coordinator in place; a new Offensive Coordinator in place. And his run of recruiting is arguably as strong if not stronger than any other coach in recent IU football history. Couple those facts with IU’s commitment with outstanding facilities and the future looks bright. Let’s all hope it becomes reality.

    1. PacNW Hoosier great read. Key thought “I believe Tom Allen has learned from his mistakes”. I believe it too or DeBord would still be the OC and TA still DC. IU is aiming hirer all across the board than ever in my many decades of paying close attention or the opening of the Rock.

      1. …to describe fuller the Rock opened in 1960…a few years after I had become a fan…

  10. Must have got that from a 1947 board meeting archives. Just different names.
    By the way the very things in the constitution that is greatness for the country carries with it individual and societal and citizen responsibility (one being “freedom of speech”) are the very things that are destroying this country. Ultimately, laws and the constitution are only as good as people make them. This country is chocking on its own laws including the constitution from within.

  11. Thought the same thing, t. Didn’t know Fred hired a PR firm to work the rather trivial pages of Scoop. Kent Sterling had some interesting things to say about Fred Glass during his show yesterday. In a nutshell: Political insider. I would add…’committee room’ insider.
    Sterling wasn’t too kind with regard to the president of IU as well….Basically reiterating what I’ve said for some time. The president of IU simply floats adrift while having little emotional investment or passion for Indiana athletics. Such absence from the top leaves ‘insider’ power comfortable and unchecked. Very little accountability at IU Athletics….As you said, just new names and new millions thrown in the direction of the lucky and connected.

    All one needs to do is look at is our dismal basketball tournament showing(a.k.a. zilch) compared to the collective 25 Elite Eights of 9 different teams in ‘Conference Midwest Elite’…to know just how how many comforts the leadership at IU is afforded.
    And football? Win Today! on spin cycle again. “Breakthrough” ….or whatever catchphrase gets you another contract extension while kissing Fred’s toenails.

  12. A few points in response to some good comments above.

    pb1230 is right on. The reason why it is important that DeBoer’s salary is not higher than $500 K is that if IU has to fire him, that limits their financial exposure to the amount of his base salary. That’s why I was confident IU would not pay DeBoer a base salary exceeding $500 K. It’s more than just semantics and accounting, it’s about managing financial risk and liability if DeBoer doesn’t work out. Fred’s the master at minimizing financial liability. Regardless, he put the package together that achieved the objective in support of his head coach, and he deserves credit for that. It’s just that it is a decade late.

    Having said that, I do like the performance incentives Fred put into DeBoer’s contract. I like them a lot and applaud Fred for both the criteria and amount of the bonuses if those metrics are achieved. There’s some real money tied to those incentive bonuses. So good for Fred!

    As to whether it was better to prioritize upgrading the football facilities over investing in a proven coaching staff, while upgrading the facilities was certainly necessary, I’m convinced that athletes choose where to play based far more on the coaching staff’s reputation/notoriety as compared to how nice the facilities are (just look at Duke in basketball). And while having top-notch facilities is important, they’re not as important as having a top-notch coaching staff. In my opinion, Fred Glass and IU’s Trustees put the cart before the horse, especially when buying very tall flag poles when assistant coaches were being poached (for the same job at a lot more money) on an annual basis. And on that point, I believe the Trustees and McRobbie deserve as much, if not more of the blame for their lack of vision, their apathy and for IU’s failure to build a winning football program. In fact, while Fred is the visible party, he may not have had any say in how the dollars were “invested.” It may in fact be the case that he was just following orders from McRobbie and the Board of Trustees. Regardless, over the last 11 years, whatever strategy that was in place failed to produce a winning season, increase home-game attendance, or imbue The Hoosier Nation with confidence and excitement about IU’s Football program. Them’s the facts!

  13. As the nice guys facilitate and walk around with happy smiles on their faces, families enjoying life as trees catch fever, colorful leaves falling on a beautiful sunny fall day on the Hoosier campus. This is with well kept homes and the best landscaped yards when returning from chosen exotic vacations to experience that old foggy college life. What’s not to like about that? They are quite “The Good Guys.”

  14. So does IU football win 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 games 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022?
    Wouldn’t that be 0 ROI?
    Of course not. Those at the top would get raises, contract extensions and or new opportunities.

  15. If the revenue generated from football increases in 2019, 20,21 and 22, then the coaches and administrators will probably make more money regardless of how the team performs. This is big business and those positions are highly competitive. It’s called the free market. While you may not like it for college coaches and administrators; think about cops, school teachers or firemen that get paid 2, 3 or 4 times as much as their counterparts in third world countries for doing the exact same jobs. Is that ‘fair’? Be glad we live in a free enterprise society because a rising tide eventually does lift all boats.

  16. Be glad we live in a free enterprise society because a rising tide eventually does lift all boats.

    If you honestly believe that flag-waving malarkey, you’re not worth the effort. Reagonomics? Trickle down? The 1% own this country. They own elections as well….or Russia owns them.

    Listen to a 91-year-old true patriot. Listen to how he believes his Marine brothers died for something this country no longer cherishes. Listen how he talks of a corrupted democracy….and how wages over the last 40 years have been squashed and constrained by those who corrupt the top of the food chain. Using the 1970’s as a base, a minimum wage keeping pace with cost of living would translate to earning $45,000/yr today. The rich keep getting richer….in the backdrop of corporate fraud and corporate greed corrupted in excesses. One day there will be none to fight their wars because an unjust America only built to uplift the narrowest of the richest class is a deception in liberty spitting in the face of freedom and its ideals.

    1. Bizarre non sequitur aside, why then do cops, teachers and fireman make multiples of their counterparts in third world countries for doing the exact same jobs? Why are our evil 1% corporate master overlords so generous with pay in the USA compared with all the worker’s paradise places like Nicaragua? Almost all US citizens are in the top 1 percent of income by world standards. So why do you have so much, evil old white male, when so many have so little? Who did you steal your wealth from Comrade Hillbilly?….maybe MOTHER RUSSIA!

  17. Correct on comparison to third world countries.
    Wrong on we live in a free enterprise society. No such thing.

  18. Watching news report on high school girls soccer in one match one girl had deep puncture wound on forehead that require stitches, one girl had one broken tooth, one chipped tooth and three teeth Jammed into gum line, and another girl injured and sent to hos

  19. hospital in Southwest Florida reported by abc 7. Girls were happy and love the sport.
    Better send Fred Glass to the rescue because injured players playing and he could interfere with a student bill of rights.

  20. Just got a commitment from another 3 star OL player. Highest rated class in Indiana history folks. The future is so bright!

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