Indiana fires head coach Tom Allen after 7 seasons

Indiana head coach Tom Allen gestures during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. Purdue defeated Indiana 35-31. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Tom Allen is no longer the head football coach at Indiana. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Indiana is moving on from head football coach Tom Allen.

The school announced Sunday that Allen has been fired after seven seasons on the job. Allen led the Hoosiers to winning seasons in 2019 and 2020, but the program has struggled mightily over the past three years. IU went 2-10 and did not win a Big Ten game in 2021 and then followed that up with a 4-8 (2-7 Big Ten) mark last fall.

Indiana started the 2023 season 2-6 with its only FBS win during that stretch coming in four overtimes over Akron, one of the worst teams in the MAC. The Hoosiers played better over the last month, including posting a home upset over Wisconsin, but it was not enough for Allen to save his job as the team finished with a 3-9 record. IU lost its final three games by a combined 10 points.

With the 2023 season complete, that means Indiana went a combined 9-27 (3-24) over the past three seasons.

Overall, Allen had a 33-49 record as Indiana’s head coach, including an 18-43 record vs. Big Ten competition. Of those 18 conference wins, 11 of them came in 2019 and 2020. In his other five seasons, Indiana won just seven conference games combined.

"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. "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 and the university have agreed on a financial settlement of two $7.75 million payments paid through athletics donor funds, the school said. Allen had a $20.8 million buyout associated with his contract.

Allen, an Indiana native, arrived in Bloomington ahead of the 2016 season to serve as Kevin Wilson’s defensive coordinator. But when Wilson’s tenure ended amid tumultuous circumstances, Allen took the reins for his first college head-coaching job. Before his time at IU, Allen was a defensive assistant at Ole Miss, USF and Arkansas State, as well as multiple lower-level programs and an array of high schools in both Florida and Indiana.

Indiana has proven to be a tough place to win. It’s a basketball-centric school that endured 11 consecutive losing seasons prior to 2019. In fact, Indiana hadn’t had back-to-back winning seasons since 1993 and 1994 before doing so in 2019 and 2020.

Things will only get tougher for Indiana with Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington joining the Big Ten next year.