Allen coaches IU to victory, takes out the trash

One of the first tasks of Tom Allen’s Sunday morning had little to do with the previous night’s game.

In the immediate aftermath of Indiana’s 20-16 victory over Virginia, the second-year coach was overcome by joy and appreciation. So after shaking hands with Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall, Allen sprinted toward the student section in the East bleachers of Memorial Stadium to thank the young people who stuck with his team through a driving rain.

He slapped hands with those in the first row of Section 24, before running to greet the group in Section 23, where the bleacher wall grows just a few feet higher. Reaching fans in the latter required a few hops from Allen, who kicked over a trash can positioned in his way.

That move quickly became one of the lasting images of a key non-conference victory.

Overnight, Allen’s toppling of the trash can, full of water and soaking garbage, became a viral sensation on social media. But when he returned to the stadium at 6 a.m., Allen had one initial, primary objective.

He had to clean up his mess.

“It was still turned over and nobody had touched it,” Allen said, “so I went out there and picked up all the trash and put it back in. I really felt bad. I said, ‘Someone’s going to have to clean that up,’ and I didn’t think to run back to do it because I was so fired up about the game.”

The win over the Cavaliers gave Allen good reason to celebrate, a triumph in adverse conditions that keeps his IU program on track for a perfect non-conference run.

Most of all, Allen was appreciative of the fans that endured the nasty weather and remained in Memorial Stadium through all four quarters to see it.

Allen was particularly grateful for the student support. And before he could begin his postgame routine, Allen felt obligated to let them know how much their attention meant.

“They were awesome,” Allen said. “We got out there to start warm up and they’re all there in the full group. It’s just pouring down rain … I’m just so pleased and so appreciative for them. The whole game they never left and they cheered. So as soon as I shook hands with Coach Mendenhall, they caught my eye that they were still there cheering away, so I ran over there to go high five them.”

And boot a trash can.

“Someone asked me, ‘What were you thinking about the trash can?'” Allen said. “I said I really wasn’t thinking, I don’t know why I did that. … I just was reacting. I have a little history of being a little emotional, so that’s just me. Fans were awesome. That was no fun to sit through that. Coaching is one thing but appreciate them braving the conditions.”

(Screen cap courtesy of Big Ten Network)

2 comments

  1. “I have a little history of being a little emotional . . . .” Or more like dorky? A little gravitas from the leader of major college sports program would be a welcome relief.

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