Indiana AD Fred Glass held a press conference Thursday night to discuss Indiana’s abrupt coaching change, and Glass explained that Wilson’s departure was a mutual decision that ended in the coach’s resignation.
Glass and Wilson held a series of meetings over a span of weeks, Glass said, with the two coming to the conclusion that Wilson and the Hooisers parting ways. Glass said there was no “smoking gun” that led to Wilson’s departure. “I have complete confidence that the medical care has been outstanding by our really terrific medical staff and training staff,” Glass said, insisting the separation was mutual. Wilson will receive one-year’s base salary of $542,000, without mitigation. He signed a 6-year contract paying him $2.55 million annually in January.
Fred Glass said the concerns over Wilson’s leadership style bubbled up again in early November.
— Brian Bennett (@BennettESPN) December 1, 2016
— Mitch Ewald (@MitchEwald) December 1, 2016
Wilson exits with a 26-47 mark in six seasons, but his 12 wins over the past two seasons represent definite progress, and soon Indiana will be placed in a bowl game in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1990-91.
With Wilson out, Glass transitioned to Indiana’s new head coach: Tom Allen. In his first season with the Hooisers, Allen has helped IU leap from 112th to 25th nationally in yards per play allowed and from 117th to 58th in scoring defense. That success led Allen to be a nominee for the Broyles Award this fall.
“(Tom) is a leader of men,” Glass said. “He is demanding without being demeaning. He is a proven, successful coach on a national scale with deep Indiana ties. He cares about his players, and they care back.”
“I come before you blessed and extremely excited, although with mixed emotions, about this opportunity,” Allen said.
Indiana represents Allen’s first head coaching position at any level. A native of New Castle, Ind., Allen is a former Indiana high school coach — he was at that level as recently as 2006 — and he is well-liked in those ranks. “Those coaches are always welcome here at Indiana University,” Allen said. “I hope they’re here as often as I was when I was a high school coach in this state.”
Allen jumped into coaching as a defensive coordinator under Hugh Freeze at NAIA Lambuth University and, after a stint at Drake, followed Freeze to Arkansas State and later Ole Miss, where he coached linebackers for the Rebels. Allen parlayed that success into a defensive coordinator post at South Florida. In his one season there, Allen moved South Florida from 66th to 35th in scoring defense and from 71st to 52nd in yards per play.
So proud for my friend @Tom_Allen44 and his wonderful family!! IU got a good one!! Mentor of men
— Hugh Freeze (@CoachHughFreeze) December 1, 2016
Allen’s presence has boosted IU’s recruiting in talent-rich Tampa, and Allen noted Thursday his son remains behind finishing his high school career as a football player at powerhouse Plant High School.
Glass insisted his decision to accept Wilson’s resignation and his promotion of Allen were not related.
“Once Coach Wilson and I concluded to part ways, I turned to determining who the best person in the country would be to keep up our momentum and take us to another level with our football team,” Glass said.
Allen said he’d keep the staff together through IU’s to-be-determined bowl game. “After that, we’ll evaluate everything to make sure we put the best product on the field possible,” Allen said. He also plans on remaining as the Hooisers’ defensive coordinator.
“I’m going to work like it depends on me,” Allen said, “and I’m going to pray like it depends on God.”