By Teddy Bailey
Pending further changes, Tom Allen’s coaching staff is complete. The Indiana football program announced the hiring of Kane Wommack on Monday morning as the Hoosiers’ tenth on-field assistant coach — now allowed by 2018 NCAA rules.
Wommack will coach linebackers for the Hoosiers in preparation for the 2018 season. Current IU linebackers coach William Inge will now serve as the team’s special teams coordinator, per release. Inge has been Indiana linebackers coach since 2013, having also handled special teams duties last season.
Wommack comes to Bloomington after serving as South Alabama’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the last two seasons. The Jaguars, playing in Division-1 FBS with the Sun Belt, were the 13th-most improved scoring defense (-10.8) in the country during Wommack’s two years. In 2016, Wommack led South Alabama’s unit to a top-ten ranking in passing defense.
“Kane is one of the bright, young coaches in our profession,” Allen said. “He has done a tremendous job as a defensive coordinator at two different stops, I have a strong relationship with his family, but more importantly, he is an excellent football coach. Kane is the kind of person that I want in our program mentoring our young men and that will represent Indiana University in an excellent way. He is a guy that I know and trust, and I am very excited to have him join the IU Football family.”
Wommack has made plenty of stops along the way en route to Indiana. After playing fullback for Arkansas (2005-06), Wommack transferred to finish his career at Southern Miss to play tight end from 2007-09. Following his playing career, Wommack began at the FCS level — coaching quarterbacks at Tennessee-Martin in 2010 and the defensive line at Jacksonville State during 2011. His first opportunity as defensive coordinator came at Eastern Illinois in 2014-15, leading the Panthers to the FCS playoffs and its defense to a No. 3 national ranking in takeaways.
Allen and Wommack will be reunited for the coming season. In 2012-13 at Ole Miss, Allen served as linebackers coach under defensive coordinator Dave Wommack, Kane’s father. Kane, meanwhile, was a graduate assistant for the Rebels. Wommack’s father retired after the 2016 season following 37 years of collegiate coaching. More importantly, Wommack coached the husky position under Allen at Ole Miss — the same position that has become vital for Indiana’s defense under rising junior Marcelino Ball.
“Tom Allen has been an awesome mentor,” Wommack said. “We have risen through the ranks together as defensive coordinators and I am thrilled to be reunited with him once again. I am ready to get started and excited to be a Hoosier.”
Along with Thursday’s announcement of David Ballou becoming IU’s next director of athletic performance, Allen now benefits from filling his staff for the remainder of the offseason. Inge, meanwhile, will lead a special teams unit that must replace two-time Big Ten Kicker of the Year Griffin Oakes — but welcomes back Big Ten Honorable Mention punter Haydon Whitehead as a rising junior.
“Special teams play is a huge priority in our program,” Allen said. “We needed someone to take ownership of all of our special teams units and Coach Inge is the man for the job,” Allen said. “It’s a great opportunity for him to become a coordinator and oversee an area that I believe changes the game.”
(Featured Image: BOBBY MCDUFFIE/SOUTH ALABAMA ATHLETICS)