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Indiana head coach Tom Allen walks the sideline during IU's loss to Nebraska on Oct. 1. (HN photo/Max Wood)
Indiana head coach Tom Allen walks the sideline during IU's loss to Nebraska on Oct. 1. (HN photo/Max Wood)

Timeline: Tom Allen's tenure at Indiana

A rundown of the ups, downs and notable moments of Indiana under Allen’s guidance

The past seven football seasons at Indiana have been many things — encouraging, thrilling, dramatic, frustrating and depressing to name a few. 

All words that describe the Tom Allen Era in Bloomington, which came to an end on Sunday after a harrowing couple of years. 

Allen’s time at Indiana concluded with a record of 33-49 (18-43 in the Big Ten). His tenure began with promise. After his 2019 and 2020 campaigns, Indiana looked to be a legit competitor in the Big Ten East. 

Here is a timeline of the ups, downs and notable moments of Indiana under Allen’s guidance.

January 15, 2016 - Allen is hired as the defensive coordinator at Indiana by head coach Kevin Wilson, replacing Brian Knorr. When Allen took over, the team had one of the worst defenses in FBS. Allen revolutionized the Indiana defense between 2016-2017, becoming the most improved team nationally in total defense (-169.4 ypg) and passing defense (-134.1 ypg).  

December 1, 2016 - Head coach Kevin Wilson resigns due to “philosophical differences in running a football team,” according to IU’s announcement at the time. Allen is named head coach by then-athletic director Fred Glass. Allen’s first contract guarantees $1.795 million annually, with bonuses that are upwards of $3 million. This contract makes Allen the lowest-paid coach in the Big Ten.

December 28, 2016 - Indiana faces No. 23 Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl in Allen’s first game as head coach. Utah kicks a field goal with 1:24 left to win the game, 26-24. 

January 4, 2017 - Allen hires Mike DeBord as offensive coordinator following the departure of Kevin Johns who left for a offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach position at Western Michigan. Allen remains in charge of defense.

2017 SEASON - 5-7 (2-7 BIG TEN)

August 31, 2017 - Allen’s first regular season begins against No. 2 Ohio State in Bloomington. Indiana loses 49-21, with Allen’s defense allowing 596 yards of offense to the Buckeyes. 

September 9, 2017 - Indiana defeats Virginia in Charlottesville, 34-17, for Allen’s first win as head coach in his third game at the helm. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey is 16-for-20 for 173 yards and two touchdowns. 

November 11, 2017 - Indiana gets its first Big Ten win under Allen, defeating Illinois in Champaign 24-14. The first conference win at home comes the following week against Rutgers, 41-0.

November 25, 2017 - In Allen’s first trip to West Lafayette as head coach, both teams enter the competition 5-6, looking for bowl eligibility. Purdue scores early and holds the lead for the entirety of the game to win 31-24, reaching eligibility and winning the Old Oaken Bucket. 

Indiana finishes the first season under Allen at 5-7 (2-7 in Big Ten). 


December 20, 2017 - Four-star recruit Michael Penix Jr. commits to Indiana. Penix was previously committed to Tennessee.

2018 SEASON - 5-7 (2-7 BIG TEN)

September 1-15, 2018 - Indiana starts the season off with three consecutive wins against non-conference opponents. 

October 20, 2018 - Penix gets first career start in a loss to Penn State. Penix is 9-for-19 with 94 yards before he tears his ACL later in the game. 

November 24, 2018 - Indiana hosts Purdue for Allen’s second Bucket Game, once again with bowl eligibility up for grabs for both teams. Indiana loses in yet another close battle, 28-21. 

Indiana has a similar season as the first under Allen, going 5-7 (2-7 in Big Ten).


December 30, 2018 - DeBord announces his retirement.

January 21, 2019 - Allen hires former Fresno State offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer. Fresno State went 22-6 with DeBoer leading the offense, in comparison to the two seasons preceding DeBoer’s arrival where the Bulldogs went 4-20.


August 31, 2019 - Penix wins the preseason quarterback battle between him and Ramsey and leads the Hoosiers to a 34-24 victory over Ball State with 326 passing yards in the season opener.

September 7, 2019 - Penix starts but once again is injured with a shoulder sprain. Penix was 14-for-20 for 197 yards and two touchdowns before exiting the game. Ramsey takes over and defeats Eastern Illinois 52-0. Fifty-two points is the second highest amount by an Allen-led Indiana team. 

November 4, 2019 - Indiana is ranked in the AP Poll for the first time since 1994, coming in at No. 24. 

November 30, 2019 - Indiana beats Purdue in overtime for the first time in three years, and for the first and only time under Allen. 

Indiana finishes the regular season 8-4 (5-4 Big Ten), with the first eight-win season and winning season in the Big Ten since 1993.

December 17, 2019 - Fresno State announces it has hired Indiana offensive coordinator DeBoer as its new head coach. DeBoer stays with the team until after the Taxslayer Gator Bowl. 


January 2, 2020 - Indiana faces Tennessee in its second bowl under Allen’s command. Indiana has the lead for the majority of the game, but Tennessee scores two touchdowns in a span of 30 seconds with help from a successful onside kick late in the fourth. Tennessee wins 23-22. Allen moves to 0-2 in bowl games as head coach.

Indiana finishes the season 8-5. 


January 10, 2020 - Allen names tight ends coach Nick Sheridan as the new offensive coordinator. Sheridan spent four years as a grad assistant at Tennessee before coming to Indiana as a quarterback coach before moving to the tight ends coach. 

March 9, 2020 - Ramsey transfers to Northwestern as it becomes clear that Indiana will stick with Penix when he gets healthy.

August 11, 2020 - The Big Ten cancels the 2020 football season due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

September 16, 2020 - The Big Ten reverses its decision to cancel the season and announces the season will begin on Oct. 23. Certain measures are put in place to ensure safety of players and staff, one of those being no fans allowed. 


October 24, 2020 - Indiana defeats No. 8 Penn State for only the second time in program history in a controversial 36-35 overtime game. Penix dives into the endzone with 22 seconds left and barely nicks the pylon before going out of bounds. A successful two-point conversion took the game to overtime. Indiana goes for a two-point conversion in overtime to win the game. 

November 7, 2020 - Indiana defeats No. 23 Michigan for the first time in 33 years, 38-21. Penix is 30-for-50 for 342 yards and three touchdowns. Ty Fryfogle has seven receptions for 172 yards and a touchdown. Indiana opens the season 3-0. 

Tom Allen leads the Hoosiers onto the field last year against Penn State. (Jared Rigdon/HN)

November 21, 2020 - No. 3 Ohio State ends Indiana’s 4-0 run, beating IU 42-35 in Columbus. Penix throws for almost 500 yards and five touchdowns, three of those to Fryfogle.

November 30, 2020 - IU announces that Penix tore his ACL in Indiana’s win over Maryland and will be out for the rest of the season. Jack Tuttle takes over.

December 5, 2020 - Indiana pulls off a 14-6 win against No. 16 Wisconsin. Tuttle throws two touchdowns in his first career start. This win makes it the first time Indiana has defeated Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin in a single season.

December 18, 2020 - After being postponed one week already, the Purdue game is canceled due to COVID-19. Indiana finishes the short regular season 6-1. 

January 2, 2021 - Indiana faces Ole Miss in the Outback Bowl, losing 26-20. Ole Miss had control of the entire game. Two fourth-quarter Stevie Scott touchdowns cut the score to six, but it is not enough. Allen would go 0-3 in bowl games at Indiana. 


March 8, 2021 - Following the successful 2020 campaign, Indiana and Allen agree to a contract extension that lasts throughout the 2027 season and pays an average of $4.9 million a year, totalling out at over $20 million. 

Indiana Hoosiers Head Coach Tom Allen talks to players during fall camp on Aug. 11, 2021 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. Photo by Gracie Farrall/Indiana Athletics

2021 SEASON - 2-10 (0-9 BIG TEN)

September 4, 2021 - Indiana gets crushed 34-6 in Iowa City, despite coming off such a successful 2020 season. 

September 11, 2021 - Indiana gets its rhythm back with its first win of the season, defeating Idaho 56-14. 

September 18, 2021 - Against Cincinnati, Indiana controls the game until linebacker Micah McFadden is ejected for a questionable targeting call, changing the momentum of the game. Indiana loses 38-14

September 24, 2021 - The Hoosiers hold on and defeat Western Kentucky 33-31 for their second and final win of the season. 

October 2, 2021 - Penix suffers an injury to his AC joint and that ends his season. 

November 27, 2021 - Indiana loses the Old Oaken Bucket to Purdue. Grant Gremel starts the game at quarterback, making him the fourth quarterback Indiana starts this season. 

Indiana finishes the season 2-10, Allen’s worst season yet. 


November 28, 2021 - Allen fires Sheridan, who later joins DeBoer in Washington as a tight ends coach.

December 8, 2021 - Walt Bell is hired as Indiana’s new offensive coordinator. Bell is coming off a 2-23 stint as head coach at University of Massachusetts. 

December 22, 2021 - Penix transfers to the University of Washington, joining former offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer. 

2022 SEASON - 4-8 (2-7 BIG TEN)

September 2, 2022 - Indiana defeats Illinois 23-20 for its first Big Ten win since 2020. 

Tom Allen enters Ross-Ade Stadium (Bailey Wright/HN).

September 24, 2022 - It looks as though Indiana has righted the ship starting the season 3-0, but Cincinnati crushes the Hoosiers 45-24.

October 9, 2022 - Allen fires offensive line coach Darren Hiller following a 31-10 loss to Michigan. Quarterback Connor Bazelak was sacked seven times during the competition. Rod Carey steps into the position in an interim role.

November 19, 2022 - After a seven-game losing streak, Indiana defeats Michigan State, winning the Old Brass Spittoon in a snowy overtime. Quarterback Dexter Williams only completes two passes the entire game. 

November 26, 2022 - Indiana loses once again to Purdue, 30-16. Indiana’s record improves from the previous year, but Hoosier fans are dissatisfied. 


December 5, 2022 - Indiana hires Bob Bostad as new offensive line coach.

January 15, 2023 - Tayven Jackson, brother of Indiana’s basketball star Trayce Jackson-Davis, commits to Indiana after redshirting a year at Tennessee. 

2023 SEASON - 3-9 (1-8 BIG TEN)

September 2, 2023 - Indiana opens its season against Ohio State. Brendan Sorsby starts at quarterback, but Jackson sees playing time. Allen announces after the game that both will have a starting opportunity before a final decision. Indiana loses, 23-3.

Indiana head coach Tom Allen comes off the field during Indiana's loss to Cincinnati on Sept. 18, 2021. (HN photo/Ross Abdellah)

September 11, 2023 - Jackson is named as Indiana’s starter after a 41-7 win over Indiana State. 

October 1, 2023 - Allen fires Bell after a 44-17 beating at Maryland. The Hoosiers are 2-3 at this point in the season and Bell’s conservative play-calling cost the team multiple drives. Carey takes over.

October 14, 2023 - Sorsby starts despite Allen claiming to be fully committed to Jackson. After the game Allen says they were looking to see if either would step up and their performances would be evaluated. Sorsby remains the starter from there on.

November 4, 2023 - Indiana defeats Wisconsin to end a four-game losing streak and keeps the bowl dream alive. 

November 25, 2023 - Had Indiana won its last three games, the Hoosiers would have been bowl eligible. Instead, they lose all three games in the final minutes, losing the Old Oaken Bucket to Purdue for the third year in a row. 

Indiana ends the season 3-9.

November 26, 2023 - Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson fires Tom Allen.

Indiana head coach Tom Allen walks the sideline during Indiana's 24-21 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 18, 2023. (HN photo/Jaren Himelick)

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