Source: Fresno State’s Kalen DeBoer to become IU’s next OC

Tom Allen has his man.

Fresno State’s Kalen DeBoer is set to become Indiana’s next offensive coordinator, a source confirmed to The Herald-Times on Friday. DeBoer, who is coming off his second season in the Mountain West Conference, has a reputation for quickly improving inconsistent and struggling offenses at the Group of Five level.

Now, his challenge is to work the same magic in the Big Ten.

DeBoer, 44, brings more than a decade’s worth of playcalling experience to Bloomington, having served as offensive coordinator at Fresno State (2017 to 2018), Eastern Michigan (2014 to 2016), Southern Illinois (2010 to 2013) and the University of Sioux Falls (2000 to 2004). DeBoer also spent five seasons from 2005 to 2009 as the head coach at Sioux Falls, his alma mater. There, he went 67-3 with three NAIA Championships at the helm.

When DeBoer started at Eastern Michigan in 2014, EMU ranked 124th nationally in total offense (289.6 yards per game). By 2016, DeBoer’s final season in Ypsilanti, the Eagles were ranked 35th (455.2 ypg).

When DeBoer started at Fresno State in 2017, he took over an offense that ranked 120th nationally the season prior to his arrival. Fresno’s offense finished 72nd nationally in 2017 (392.9 ypg) and 47th (421.5 ypg) this past season.

Could an IU offense that ranked 52nd (415.2 ypg) in 2018 make a similar jump in 2019? That’s DeBoer’s mission now.

Indiana is expected to officially announce DeBoer as its next coordinator within the next week. It is believed that DeBoer was the only candidate to be formally offered the job during a search that lasted nearly three full weeks.

DeBoer is set to make $800,000 per year in base salary at Indiana, according to a source. Previous IU offensive coordinator Mike DeBord received a base salary of $500,000 per season.

Allen and his new hire have a coaching connection in Eastern Michigan head coach Chris Creighton. Allen worked under Creighton as an assistant during previous stops at Wabash and Drake. Creighton was the head coach that hired DeBoer at Eastern Michigan in 2014.

In Bloomington, DeBoer will be tasked with helping the Hoosiers fix the issues that have held them back during each of Allen’s first two seasons as head coach.

Under Mike DeBord, who announced his retirement on Dec. 30, Indiana proved capable of moving the ball through the middle of the field, but often struggled to cash in with touchdowns. This past season, IU ranked 107th nationally with 4.11 points scored per trip inside the 40-yard line. Fresno State finished the 2018 season ranked 43rd in the country with 4.79 points per trip inside the 40.

Perhaps most encouraging for Allen, the Bulldogs’ red-zone touchdown rate of 73.6 percent ranked 13th in the country this past season, while IU’s 56.8 percent red-zone touchdown rate ranked 104th.

It helped that DeBoer’s quarterback at Fresno State, Marcus McMaryion, was also the highest-graded quarterback in the Mountain West Conference, according to Pro Football Focus. Fresno State finished the season with the country’s No. 26 scoring offense at 34.6 points per game. Meanwhile, IU ranked 88th with 26.4 points per game.

Now, Allen hopes DeBoer has the plan to bring back potency to Indiana’s offense. The good news for the Hoosiers is that DeBoer’s track record indicates he could, indeed, give IU the jolt it needs.


  1. Makes since for not making snap decision. It takes time to rhyme with DeBord. DeBoer / DeBord. Uhm.
    So IU offense expect to be mid thirties to forties. In golf that’s pretty close to par.

  2. This is a homerun for Indiana. I like this hire a lot. Better be careful, I might start getting expectations around the football program.

  3. So much for all the hand wringing now. DeBoer has a good track record. I hope he makes our offense more explosive in 2019. It gives our QB room a new look and the best QB with a talented arm should be on the field. It will be interesting to see how IU’s offense looks in 2019. There are very good skilled players for DeBoer to use and I hope his blocking schemes mesh up with the talents of our OL. I imagine we will see more over the next few months including the Spring Practices and game.

  4. At first glance it looks like a good hire.

    Something often comes up to take some of the luster off things that look really great.

    It does have the look of steady progression in his professional career.

  5. On paper I see nothing but positives for bringing KB to Bloomington. He at least has had consistent success with many programs, at multiple levels and many locations. Read he runs an RPO offense using single back sets with a wide open passing attack. Sure want to hear him speak at his press conference.

  6. He had quite a record as a HC at the NAIA level. 67-3. Five straight trips to the title game with 3 championships.

  7. Chet, you are right about DeBoer at Sioux Falls and it gives us the best idea of what he will do as the HC of IU’s offense. Schools where he was the OC gives us some idea but he may have been limited by the HC. Fresno State versus UCLA this year the offense looked a lot like we have seen at IU and I am hoping he leans more to an explosive offense than Fresno State showed in that game.

  8. I’ll bet Fred Glass already has Kalen DeBoer pegged to be IU’s next head coach. Based on Fred’s criteria, he’ll be the ideal candidate! He’s an Coordinator, he’s already at IU, and he’ll be affordable. No need to hire a recruiting firm or waste time doing interviewing other men, Fred will already have the right guy. And besides, he already has successful head coaching experience, albeit at the NAIA level, but whatever.

    No seriously, I agree that DeBoer looks good on paper. I like that he has recent experience in the Midwest and that he has experience recruiting in California (tons of talent out there). Over the years, the overall talent signed by Fresno State is on par, if not slightly better than the talent IU has signed, so DeBoer should have a feel for what it’s going to take. And I’ll be he’s already familiar with IU’s new QB transfer.

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope DeBoer can make it work with his new staff of offensive assistants.

  9. It is reported that DeBoer got an $800,000 contract. My only concern is tapes when he was at Fresno state his offense looked like we were running the past two years. I wish I could see film from Souix Falls when he was there to see how he ran the offense as a HC. I hope with coach Allen saying he wants a more explosive offense DeBoer opens up his offensive play calling. He has improved offenses where he has been and I hope he does here at IU.

  10. According to USA Today’s “NCAAF Coach Pay” report for 2018, DeBoer was making $333,048 as Fresno State’s OC. If IU pays him at least as much as they were paying DeBord ($502,500), who was the 126th highest paid assistant coach in the FBS (you get what you pay for), DeBoer secured himself a nice increase, not to mention paying lower state income and sales taxes in Indiana as compared to California. But with Fred Glass holding the purse strings, it’s not a given IU will pay DeBoer the same amount it paid DeBord last year. When the ink is dry, it should be interesting to see if DeBoer commanded more than DeBord was getting paid, or if he accepted less. Knowing Fred, he probably gave him a lower base salary and built in incentives, tied to the team’s overall performance, that on paper give him the chance to make more than $502,500. Either way, I doubt he’s getting anywhere near that $700,000 figure that was being thrown around!

    And for the record, IU’s total Football Assistant Coaching pay in 2018 was $3,104,903. To put that in perspective, OSU’s Total Football Assistant Coaching pay for 2018 was $7,383,938. For those of you who did not graduate IU’s business school, that’s 137.8% higher (i.e., more than double) than IU’s total Football Assistant Coaching pay. WOW!

  11. Home Run. Love the hire. Awesome that TA got it done quickly. This guy has a track record of success as an OC with 3 different schools. No guarantees, but looks like a huge step forward from DeBord.

  12. Homerun? That might be an understatement. This is more like Roy Hobbs blasting one off the clocktower! I’d say we’re back but we’ve never really been there. The future is brighter than ever in Hoosier Country. Hats off to Tom Allen and Fred Glass for getting it done.

  13. I am reluctant to attach too many allocades but it really does look like it might be a really good hire.

  14. At least Fred Glass didn’t say that I think I want to give that OC position a shot and if he did we would have to listen to how great that would be.

  15. This is the kind of hire I hoped for but never thought TA would make. $800k should keep him around for a few years too. The fans needed something we could get excited about and this is it. No one knows if he will be successful, but at least he has a track record of success that gives you hope.

    1. This is the hire we’ve been hoping for. Fresno St fans are mourning the loss right now on Twitter. I think we landed a big one here.

  16. Thanks, PO, I had no idea that OSU has piles more $$$ to spend on football than does IU. Do you think maybe that’s the case with Mich. and USC and Notre Dame, too? And another thing- the $800,000.00 reported by the Scoop for DeBoer was actually a typo; the real figure is $80,000.00. Which makes him Fred Glass’ greatest hire EVER!

  17. “Per a USA Today database of assistant coaches’ salaries, that $800,000-per-year figure would have ranked DeBoer among the eight highest-paid assistants in the Big Ten last season. Former IU coach Kevin Wilson, now offensive coordinator at Ohio State, reportedly makes the same amount. Per the USA Today database, DeBoer made $333,048 last season at Fresno State.” From the Indianapolis Star. But a Fresno St. site says that DeBoer was earning $500k at Fresno St. Hard to pin down any exact numbers for all these coaches, asst. coaches- base salary, bonuses, perks. Tiller at Pee-yew was getting something like $150k/annum on top of base to run the campus summer sports program; his actual duty was probably to check and make sure the air-conditioning in his office was working.

  18. He looks young enough to be Allen’s choirboy….not that Pee-wee Herman looks mean anything.

    “Maybe Hoosier Football (a.k.a. “Li’l Clemson of the Midwest”) has risen from the dead via the Clemson model,” said Dabo Swinney?

    Whatever it takes… Just keep in mind that Tom Crean tried the same model.

  19. Where’s the $800,000 figure coming from? I can’t find it anywhere on line. The only information I’ve seen as of ten minutes ago was from which said, “Reports claim that DeBoer’s salary will increase by about double in his move from Fresno State to Indiana.” If that’s accurate, and I hope it is, then DeBoer could be making more than $650,000 per year. Someone must have been holding a gun to Fred’s head.

    I wonder how many candidates turned IU down before DeBoer accepted. If DeBoer is getting more than $600,000, you just know he had leverage and used it for all it was worth. Good for him!

    Whether $600K or $800K, I hope Fred finally came to understand that talented, marketable football coaches don’t come cheep and that if you want a winning football program, you have to pay the price to get one.

    That aside, I’m cautiously optimistic that this will turn out to be a good hire, and I’ll be interested to see if DeBoer can poach any un-signed players from California for this current recruiting class.

    1. Actually falls in the neighborhood($700k)I mentioned 2+ weeks ago. I’ve always maintained there’s plenty of bucks at IU when needed. AD Glass is the reason why.

  20. Explosive plays I suppose could be no more than off tackle play that goes for a 40 yard touchdown.

    1. Yeah, a lot of comments over the last months complaining that IUFB needs an “explosive” or “exciting” offense. I’ll take dull, dull, dull as long as the final score is “IU more points than the other guy.”

  21. t, I hope DeBoer understands IU needs an offense that uses deep and intermediate passes from QBs with a strong arm. We have RBs that can be explosive but also receivers and TEs that can be explosive play makers too.

    1. I hope to hell he has a red zone offense. Overall the play calling needs to be cohesive. Not just a playbook of plays to choose from. Own the offense be proud and put it on display. Can’t wait.

  22. It’s IU Football….I think we could save on heating Assembly Hall by burning the Memorial coaching cash some want to blow up the “explosive” chimney.

  23. Finally! With these 2 hires IU should “be ready, be ready, be ready for y’all”. Out of the box, at least 7 wins in regular season. The Hoosiers have now become a member of Big 10 football competition. The escalation in recruiting, team management and on field performance will be felt immediately. It’s like an 6 handicapper suddenly finding ‘something’ and dropping to scratch. The lid on low-mediocre expectations has been lifted. This oughta’ be fun.

    1. brad
      A new defensive cord and a new offensive cord (first time for both as cord in the “BIG TEN”) does not hold well for a seven wins season, maybe in the year 2020. Seven wins very high expectation!

      1. IU79: I’m not naive. But ‘B10’ coaching experience doesn’t impress me. What does, is what this new OC has been directly responsible for, including last years bowl win over a down, but still a p-5 squad. Actually, his NAIA success says a lot. Wommack? What we do know is that Allen is free to handle head coaching responsibilites. My guess is, DeBoer likely is a pretty good recruiter. Finally, FG seems to have realized that IU is actually in the Big 10. I just feel as though this program has set itself up to be moderately successful. Quite honestly I feel like 7 wins in ’19 might be low. We’ll just have to watch how things materialize

        1. brad,
          Hope you are correct…my expectation for this team is rising each and every day. Will be watching or attending every Indiana University with very high expectation…GO HOOSIER!!!

  24. Jeremy, are you saying DeBore’s annual salary will be $800,000? Or does that figure include relocation expenses, signing bonus, car allowance and benefits? I’ll be pleasantly surprised if DeBoer’s salary is $800,000 per season. If that turns out to be the case, I’d love to have been on the wall when T.A. first heard that number. I’ll bet Fred got nauseous, broke out is a cold sweat and got the shakes.

  25. I’ve talked myself into “this is our year” too many times with IUFB. But DeBoer is about as good as IU could get. Play calling should drastically improve, game management should improve, Red Zone efficiency should improve. Kane Wommack looks more like the standard IU hire- a less proven guy bumped up to DC. Maybe he’ll be great, but it wasn’t like he set the world on fire as the linebackers coach. Looking at Fresno State highlights from last year, DeBoer called a bunch of deeper routes and throws to the deep flats- not throws Ramsey can make consistently. I think its a 2-way race for QB with Ramsey on the outside holding a clipboard.

    1. 123- I’ve certainly done the same thing in some years. I’m optimistic about 2019 but the schedule isn’t very favorable. On paper it looks like a 5-7 type season but hopefully the coaching staff can make some big strides. 2020 looks like the start of IU turning into a perennial bowl team IMO. Hopefully I’m a year late on that prediction but I truly believe IU is about to become a winning football program.

  26. Waiting to see how things play out on the field before forming an opinion. But hoping it plays out for the best.

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