IU’s Tom Allen wins Big Ten Coach of the Year

The man at the helm of Indiana’s historic season, Tom Allen, was named the Big Ten’s Coach of the Year on Thursday.

Allen is just the second IU football coach to earn the Big Ten’s coach of the year honor. Bill Mallory won the award in both 1986 and ’87.

No. 7 IU (6-1) has achieved much during 2020’s conference-only season. The Hoosiers won six of their seven games, tying a program record for conference wins in a season. They beat three top-25 teams in then-No. 8 Penn State, then-No. 23 Michigan, and then-No. 18 Wisconsin — three programs IU had never beaten in the same season.

Allen had already won the American Football Coaches Association’s Region 3 honor this week. He remains in the running for other national coach of the year awards, including the Paul “Bear” Bryant and Bobby Dodd honors. Per the terms of Allen’s contract, he earns a $50,000 bonus for winning conference coach of the year.

It’s been a season in the limelight for a well-traveled football coach who hasn’t been a headman at the Division I level for that long. Allen’s coaching career was exclusively at the high school level until 2007, when the Ben Davis head coach accepted a job as an assistant at Wabash. He was then an assistant coach up until his arrival at IU as defensive coordinator in 2016. After one year as a Hoosier assistant, he was promoted to head coach in 2017.

Consecutive five-win seasons in ’17 and ’18 were followed by an eight-win campaign in 2019. Allen and his program have continued that momentum in 2020, rising to No. 7 in the Associated Press and coaches polls this week. His “love each other,” or LEO, mantra has taken hold and captured belief among IU’s players.

Following IU’s last win at Wisconsin, IU linebacker Micah McFadden was asked if Allen deserved to be not only the Big Ten coach of the year but the national coach of the year.

“100 percent, without a doubt,” McFadden said. “A lot of people don’t get to see what he does in the building, but he brings the energy each and every day and we’re not kidding about that. He comes in ready to work, he gets the guys going, maybe when it’s a Tuesday morning and it’s been a long weekend or whatever and guys are tired or whatnot.

“He comes ready to go and he gets us fired up and he brings the energy for this team. We recognize it and we appreciate it and that’s where you see the love coming from.”

IU’s success has resulted in honors for more than just Allen. The Hoosiers have racked up a program-record 16 All-Big Ten honorees, including first-team all-conference performers in McFadden, cornerback Tiawan Mullen, safety Jamar Johnson, defensive tackle Jerome Johnson, and receiver Ty Fryfogle.

On Thursday, kicker Charles Campbell was named second-team All-Big Ten, while punter Haydon Whitehead and punt returner Reese Taylor were given honorable mention recognition. Defensive end Michael Ziemba was named IU’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.



  1. This was an obvious no-brainer, but when it involves IU FB you can never take anything for granted. So I am happy and relieved that TA has gotten the recognition he so deserves. Obviously I am biased, but I can’t think of any coach more deserving than TA for National Coach of the Year. With the nice bonus TA gets for winning this award, maybe he can take his family on a special vacation to some place where they can relax without worrying about COVID. But my guess is that TA will apply that bonus to some charitable cause or disperse it amongst his assistant coaches.

  2. This is very good news to hear as coach deserves this recognition. The attention IU is garnering this season should boost 2022 recruiting for IU. I doubt the awards are finished coming in for this team and coaching staff.

  3. Coach Allen should win Coach of the Forever for what he’s done with IU Football. I don’t think there’s any position that came with more baggage and issues to overcome to build a top 10 team than this.

    Indiana played so well this year, all the college football people are having to wrap their minds around a division where Michigan, MSU and PSU have to compete with Indiana instead of the dismissiveness that comes with sitting at the bottom as the perpetual losers. No longer are we the team they’ll schedule on homecoming.

    Only one thing left to do. Pay the man.

  4. * “Top-10” team during a pandemic and zero fans. Let’s not get carried away. He walked on water when the water was a puddle on the sidewalk.
    Once the ocean is deep with fans in stands, uninterrupted seasons, full rosters of elite talent fueled by their fervent following in overflowing stadiums, etc etc., then let’s assess the achievements and results without the asterisk.

    Good for the Hoosiers to prove they are one of the best to play in empty stadiums. It could actually be in our DNA. We operate best when all motivation is coming the coach as the cult leader. Our “leave by halftime” fans have never been close to being blindly devoted to anything. Hoosier Football was built for a cult coach in a bubble with all exterior influences tempered or removed. It is an equalizer while those teams used to an ‘Animal House’ toga party atmosphere and stadiums packed to the last corner seat touching the clouds are merely going through the motions as a field more like a mortuary replaced the crushing decibels of cheers.

    Repeat: Asterisk. If the pandemic had evaporated by Easter Sunday as predicted by (you know who), I’m wondering if OSU ever squanders that huge lead. I wonder if Penix even gets out of the non-conference without injury? I wonder if Ramsey is picking splinters out of his rump while Northwestern experiments with various qb alternatives to find a win…?

    1. So your whole point is that the games played in empty stadiums really don’t count? Because…? The players, the coaches, are identical. The fields are identical. The Football, rules, etc. are identical. Your argument is specious!

      1. Because the fans are part of football. Games in empty stadiums really shouldn’t count. They are essentially scrimmages. I said from the onset that Indiana would have an advantage because we have never had a fervent fan following. We are used to empty stadiums. Our team plays more for the motivator on the sideline than the aura and the spectacle/energy always inherent to the sport (until a pandemic removed that aura).
        I would also postulate that highly recruited top prospects fed limelight since very early in football careers are going to experience more of shock to the system playing in a dead zone environment.
        Hoosier Football has always played in a zombie apocalypse at sparse Memorial.
        Is it any coincidence that the other team used to playing for sparse and near nonexistent crowds/little fanfare, Northwestern, has also experienced a catapulting rise to the top during zombie football?

        We are an improved football team. Our coach is built for isolation. He uses motivational techniques and faith to create a cult-like atmosphere. Who needs fans? We don’t need a ‘Big House’ packed for every Saturday home game with 100,000 crazed season ticket holders. We only need “loving each other” and proving the world of empty stadiums wrong.

        Sort of weird, don’t you think? Playing with a chip on your shoulder to a hostile stadium of zero fans? It was never football. It was a zombie apocalypse … For what it’s worth, I’d put the same asterisk next to all sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, college basketball, etc.). The top talent may still rise to the top, but in the process of gutted stadiums and arenas, there have been gutted emotions, flattened levels of adrenaline and unprecedented topsy-turvy results.

      2. In a nutshell: We played in the lackluster culture of our dismal Memorial participation at every venue.
        What was the shock to our system? It nearly felt like a home game wherever we played. The piped in fake crowd noise might have been just a little louder than a typical game in Bloomington. But it’s still fake. FAKE NEWS! FAKE FOOTBALL CROWD. CULTURE REMOVED (except for IU and their historical dismal attendance opposite of what nearly all power conference teams are accustomed).
        Going to see Led Zeppelin live is still a bit different than putting some vinyl on your turntable. You are probably going to be a bit more excited for the concert….Again, IU Football is used to never having a concert crowd. We are raised on plastic. We are vinyl. We must find joy in the turntable because our fans have rarely participated in anything equal to the culture other BigTen teams have been forever blessed with the ‘norm’ of college football fanaticism.

        The traditional elite teams are those who had the true aura of college football removed in 2020. Their culture was stripped by the pandemic. Many never got off their heels.

  5. H4H, you are mister consistent down rating IU’s football seasons. Last year success was catching teams in down years. This year it is no fans in the stadiums giving IU and advantage.

    I would put IU’s skill level at the level of OSU except for two areas – OL and DE. IU players perform as well as any B1G team’s players do. Without question no fans in the stands had some impact on the games but it is difficult to determine how it hurts both teams. I re-watched the OSU game and the 2nd quarter is what killed IU. Two fumbles that had IU in scoring position but giving the ball back to OSU instead. IU played OSU even or outplayed them in 3 of the 4 quarters. It was just a matter of reducing the number of mistakes to come away with a win that wins the B1G East title.

    Yes, we may find this year was an unusual year for B1G teams but I don’t think we will find IU declining next year. I understand it takes coaches, opponents, and fans time to change their view of IU football but they won’t have a choice over the next few years and longer.

    1. V-13….I could claim you’re Mr. Pollyanna consistent.

      Last year’s season consisted of wins against teams which averaged a .200 win percentage. It is what it is. The non-conference was against the worst of the worst.

      Yes, a pandemic changes things. We don’t even know how accurately or honestly infections and infection rates were monitored from roster to roster. I don’t believe there is any truth to results when football is played without fans.

      IU Football is not taken seriously….I’m not the only one assessing the season differently. You have a team with only five games played which will still have the opportunity to play for a national championship. The media/football establishment has not changed their view of Indiana Football anymore than their opposing view of OSU Football.
      They see our lofty results as pandemic influenced….just as they see OSU’s limited “proof.”

      Why are so many elite teams (basketball and football) struggling so much? Why does Duke basketball play like Ball State in an empty Cameron Indoor Stadium ?
      Why do so many discount the importance of fans to elite teams/programs and elite athletes? It is the fan that makes the world go round…not Tom Allen or Coach K. Without fans, a king can appear a pauper and a pauper, a king.
      Hard to imagine cherishing rewards when so many thousands are dying daily from this awful disease…And every empty seat in a stadium/arena should serve as reminder.

      1. IU is ranked #7 in college football! Your view is not respected! You still have nothing to point to, in the way of objective facts, to support it.

    2. V, I realize you’re a huge supporter of and cheerleader for the program, but placekicking is probably the only area where IU’s skill level might be equal to OSU’s. We had a great season and I hope we get to play in a bowl game, but we aren’t their equal anywhere talent wise (except PK).

      1. Bear Down, based on field performance I will choose to disagree with you. I am not saying IU’s talent is at the level of OSU but that our talent playing together as a team is equal enough to compete with and beat OSU. Yes I am an optimist and see IUFB in the best light possible.

      2. Wide receivers, tight ends, back 7 on defense IU is equal to OSU. QB it is close. RB Ohio is superior but the rest of the B1G is below IU. The front 4 on defense IU is as good as the rest of the B1G. Look at the post season awards for confirmation. The B1G Football world has changed!

        1. You need to watch much closer. IU isn’t OSUs equal at any position, except maybe PK. We had a great year, but people are looking at this through crimson colored glasses.

  6. Hey, if athletic talent was all that mattered, the “committee” would just select the four playoff teams based on the collective recruiting class rankings (and I’m not sure they don’t anyway). And Bob Knight would probably have been limited to one NCAA Championship. Thankfully, FB is a team sport and things like coaching, motivation, intelligence and team unity influence a team’s performance on the field. Fryfogle was a 2-star rated player coming out of HS, and yesterday he was named the best wide receiver in the Big Ten. Similar story with IU’s linebacker.

    It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Tom Allen deserves Coach of the Year because of the amount of fight he instills in his team.

    1. Without the great fans filling Assembly and the heritage of Indiana h.s. hoops overflowing from our hearts like a river of crimson down to Bloomington courtesy of the greatest basketball state in the nation, Bob Knight would have been as boring as IU Football.

      And let’s stop acting like Bob Knight didn’t get great talent. Isiah Thomas? Come on, man…

  7. BD, I’m sincerely curious; would you describe yourself as a “cheerleader” for IU Athletics? If not, would you describe yourself as an IU fan? And if you’re neither, why post comments on The Hoosier Sports Report? Sincerely, I don’t understand why anyone would participate on a site like this unless they’re fan of the school it is based upon.

    1. I am and have been for decades, but I’m also objective about what I see, even if it means a less than sunny view for the Hoosiers. I realize you’re not a fan of that and don’t have the nearly background of viewing IU sports that some of us do, so we come at things from a different angle. Not sure why that’s a concern for you.

  8. BD, sincerely, thanks for your response.

    As for you being objective, that’s fine. But does that mean you think you’re the only objective person posting comments on this site? Have you considered that there is a fine line between believing you’re always objective and being a contrarian?

    1. If you’re referring to anyone in particular, please let me know. But there’s little objectivity in most of the core group here. Not sure why you think it’s wrong to point that out, or why you think it’s bad that people post more with their hearts than anything else.

  9. BD, you don’t seem to be objective but negative about what you see. I know I am an optimist and admit it something you could do as many see you seeing the glass half empty. I have no problem with having people seeing the shortcomings of IUFB as the site takes all kinds.

    I hope next year is a regular year and we find IU doing as well as they have this year.

    1. I’m objective probably to a fault, which I know you and Po don’t care for, since it’s more about pure fandom for you guys. I tend to like talking more of the nuts and bolts of football, even as a huge IU fan, and I realize that’s not something you do. That’s fine with me, but I don’t get why it has you guys so upset. Why isn’t there room for both?

      1. I can talk nuts and bolts about football so ask away. You diminish me as a HS football coach that coached three teams to State 4 titles once as a HC and once as DC, my team was runner up one time so I know football unlike you as used to think. I went to Pro clinics along with college clinics to learn as much as I could about football as I could. You are objective either but negative about IUFB.

        1. I didn’t diminish anything about you, V. I just said I like to talk about the nuts and bolts of football, unlike many here. If that’s something you want to do, great. If would be fun if you did. No offense intended as I’m sure you know the game well. Surprised you think me speaking objectively is something you consider negative, but that’s fine.

          1. I remember you saying a negative thing about me being a HS coach earlier this season if it wasn’t you but another poster I apologize but I remember it was you and fits what you say about others here.

  10. By the way, I would love to talk nuts and bolts about football with you Like I did in explaining how I went from wide splits to narrow splits like IU should do and quit giving rush lanes to the defense [this was a different post].

    1. Happy to talk football with you V, but I don’t you do that much and when you did it come off very well. Never diminished your coaching background as I don’t know anything about it. Not a big fan of the “you’re not a real fan because you’re not a cheerleader” argument, tho.

  11. BD, it’s not that I don’t appreciate that you’re objective, and I don’t see it as a fault. But just remember that being objective does not mean you’re assessment is alway correct. For example, I think the “Committee” screwed IU FB by ranking it 11th. And I think the preponderance of evidence proves that to be true. Beating three top 20 teams, losing by only 7 to #3 ranked OSU on their home field, other teams ranked ahead of us having two losses and losing to un-ranked, non-Power five conference teams. And then the fact that IU is ranked higher in the two other major polls. That’s plenty of evidence by any objective measure. Your refusal to consider that and/or agree with those who believe it went beyond being objective, it appeared that you were arguing for the sake of being argumentative.

    1. It’s not that I didn’t consider it, I did and don’t believe it’s valid. My refusal to agree with you (as you said in your post) is the issue, and why you’re upset with me. I just don’t think you made a convincing case.

    2. Po: Exactly. This committee’s make up is joke. I looked it up. It’s loaded with administrators and people from the SEC and Big 12…..surprized? That’s how teams with 2 and 3 losses will be playing in the top 4 bowls outside of the 2 championship matchups. Actually, the collective bias and sheer stupidity is off of the charts. This thing needs to go to a computer…no humans.

      1. This isn’t accurate. It’s comprised of 7 AD’s from 7 impacted conferences, along with 4 former players, coaches or representatives from several of those conferences, a retired Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, and an ASU faculty member who was a college sports ,Edina member for years.

        The make up of it is hardly “a joke”.

        I get that we want IU to have the best bowl game possible, but the notion that this thing is somehow rigged against us is nonsense. Po and V have taken issue with me because I haven’t lit my torch in unison with the other revolutionaries who want to overthrow these oppressors, but there’s nothing to overthrow and no reason for all of this indignation and handwringing (unless people want to look foolish).

        Outside of the top 4, there are plenty of good teams with good arguments as to why they belong, and sorting through them in the asterisk year of Covid will never please anyone. But the conspiracy theories and accusations of malfeasance don’t hold water and make IU fans look petty and, frankly, ignorant.

  12. I’m saving Bear Down’s 11:31 pm remark as the gold standard in any disagreements with the wife.

    Wife: Can we watch the movie together instead of so much football?

    Me (bringing out the gold standard): It’s not that I didn’t consider it, I did and don’t believe it’s valid. My refusal to agree with you is the issue, and why you’re upset with me. I just don’t think you made a convincing case.

    Wife: I want a divorce.

  13. Since I’m not going to wait until 4 PM Sunday, NONE of the bowl projections have IU playing in a bowl they deserve to be invited to. The consensus has Auburn or .500 Missouri. Teams scheduled ahead of the Hoosiers,..a fill-in Pac Champ at 4-2,…Iowa State with 3 losses,..NC with 3,..Georgia 2, by 17 and 18 points and Oklahoma 2 including a loss to Kansas State. So, what the ‘esteemed minds’ on the committee have/or will conclude is that the 2ND BEST TEAM in the B1G…deserves to be relegated to the Citrus Bowl or worse after losing to team they feel is a top 4 team..at full strength, at their place by 7 points,…a pick 6 let me remind everyone. That there are a total of 8 SEC and Big 12 teams more deserving. I warned everyone about this committee, the process and Iowa’s corrupt AD, Gary Barta. You’ll see for youselves at 4:05 how crooked, biased, unfair, unrealistic, punitive and flat out hateful this process is. We can only hope that it all is transferred into billboard material. Go Hoosiers!!!

  14. H4H, once again you find a piece of gold that brings a smile to me. I only hope that next year IU does as well as this year and we can find gold in what this team is like. I understand next year may be much different for IUFB but they have shown what they can do this year.

    You make a post that just brings things up in a fun way which is why I love having you on this site. IUFB fans need some fun with what we have gone through over the years. This year is fun on it on and maybe the next years coming will be as fun for fans.

    If IUFB was a car it started out nice but due to lack of care [IU had a chance hire Knute Rockne and decided they didn’t want him as HC] became a junky car until after WWII it was repaired and very nice again. Once again it went to crap due to lack of care until the 1967 when it was painted to look good but nothing to fix the parts to keep it that way. It sit in the driveway getting worse until 1987 as Mallory was like a backyard mechanic that doesn’t have much money but can work hard to fix things that can be fixed. IUFB car ran very good for a few years but the repairs could only work for so long until needing to be replaced. The IUFB car saw a few year now and then that it looked better as someone polished it up. We get to the last ten years and IUFB has been changed like a car that was stripped down and rebuilt. We will see over the next few years if it is being done right to make it like a new car.

    1. Thanks, V. Back at you. I’m thankful there are a few here that appreciate a bit of fun.

      IU Football gave us a fun season….The truth in the results can be forever debated, but it was fun to watch. We’ll get those Muckeyes soon.

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