IU’s Tom Allen named Big Ten football coach of the year


Indiana University football coach Tom Allen was announced as the Big Ten Conference coach-of-the-year Thursday, making the first time in more than 30 years a Hoosier leader has been recognized with the award.

Allen was chosen by both the coaches and media involved in the Big Ten as he led the team to a 6-1 record in this coronavirus-marred season and a ranking of No. 7 in the nation.

Hired to revamp and rejuvenate a long-dormant college program, Allen has made steady progress in rebuilding Indiana’s prestige within the league and across the country over the last four seasons.

The official name of the league coaching award is the Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year Award, honoring former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes and Michigan coach Bo Schembechler in the vote of current coaches. Allen also was given the Dave McClain Coach of the Year award, as voted by the media.

Allen previously received the Werner Ladder American Football Coaches Region 3 Coach of the Year award. He is also a finalist for the Dodd Trophy and the Paul “Bear” Bryant national coaching awards.

Shortly before Allen’s recognition was announced, the league completed making its list known of player awards for the 2020 season with special teams honors. IU kicker Charles Campbell was chosen as second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media.

Punter Haydon Whitehead and return man Reese Taylor were honorable mention choices by both organizations.

Defensive end Michael Ziemba was given the Big Ten’s Sportsmanship award.

Earlier this week numerous other Hoosiers players were honored by the league on offense and defense.

The Big Ten Network asked Allen whom he thought of first when he learned he was the recipient of the coaching award.

“My dad,” Allen said of his father, also named Tom Allen. “He’s my hero.” This Allen played football for his father in high school. “I coach because of the man he is.”

Another Tom Allen, this coach’s son, is a member of the current Indiana team, though he suffered a season-ending injury.

Indiana has experienced only sporadic major success in its long association with the Big Ten and Allen is just the second Hoosiers coach to gain the coaching award accolade. Bill Mallory was named the league’s coach of the year in 1986 and 1987.

Among the various accomplishments of this year’s Hoosiers as they await Sunday’s announcement of what bowl they will be invited to, is being national ranked for eight straight weeks, the most since 1945.

Being voted into the Associated Press top 10 five times this season is the most since 1967.

This season brought IU its first win over Michigan since 1987, claim of the Old Brass Spittoon from Michigan State for the first time since 2016, while winning at East Lansing for the first time since 2001, and recording three victories over ranked teams.

Several members of the Hoosier program are semi-finalists or finalists for national individual awards, including defensive coordinator Kane Wommack as an assistant coach, who has already been hired to lead South Alabama’s program.

The Hoosiers lost out on playing the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry game against Purdue last weekend because of the virus infecting both IU and the Boilermakers.

Despite many physical and mental challenges, Allen said in a university press conference the other day, he was proudest of his team’s “ability to stay together. Just to see the guys fight through all that. That to me is what sticks out.”

Allen admitted the list of accomplishments by this Hoosiers team was a long one and it did things “that haven’t been done in a long, long time. It’s impressive. Believing and still doing historic things together.”

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