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Indiana's Allen Named National Coach Of The Year By The AFCA

Indiana football coach Tom Allen watches over practice September 30 at the IU practice fields.

Indiana coach Tom Allen was named the national coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association. (Scott Burns / Indiana University Athletics)

Indiana football coach Tom Allen was named the American Football Coaches Association’s national coach of the year on Tuesday.

 Allen becomes just the third IU coach to win the award, joining Bo McMillan in 1945 and John Pont in 1967.

“I am so humbled and honored to be voted on by my peers and fellow coaches in the country,” Allen said.

The award was worth an extra $100,000 to Allen, who has now earned $250,000 in contract bonuses since the end of the season. Allen earned $100,00 for leading the Hoosiers to a bowl and $50,000 for being named the Big Ten’s coach of the year.

The Hoosiers tied a program-record with six Big Ten wins this season, reached No. 7 in the nation at one point and earned a spot in the Outback Bowl, where they lost 26-20 to Mississippi. A bowl win would have been worth another $50,000.

Allen would have traded it all to have closed out the season with a win.

“We did not finish the season the way we wanted to,” Allen said. “It's still a big disappointment for myself and there’s an emptiness that we can't go back and change.

“But I don't want that one game to take away from all the … huge wins that we experienced, and just the growth in our program and to show this country what we can be become as a football program, and show recruits and show their families and our fan base what I believe Indiana football can be.”

What Allen has accomplished at Indiana — his first collegiate head coaching job after rising through the coaching ranks in high school and small colleges for two decades — can be seen as an inspiration for other coaches.

“There were times when I had no idea what tomorrow was going to bring. I had no idea where I was going to end up,” Allen said. “There were times in the past where I almost went back to high school because I did not want to put my family through more hard moves, more uncertainty, no money, and all of those different things and struggles that it creates.

“It just gives those guys an opportunity to believe and say hey if this guy can do it then I can do it. I think that is what it is because there is nothing special about me. I just stayed the course and had a belief in something.”

Indiana finished the season 6-2 and ranked No. 12 in the nation, its highest final ranking since 1967, when IU went to the Rose Bowl and finished ranked No. 4.

Now, the onus is on Allen and Indiana to make sure the program stays there.

“To me, we have created a different level of expectation,” Allen said. “The belief has come from within this football team. It has spread out throughout our fan base, and now other people have started to believe in Indiana football. To me, that is a great thing. That is what you want. That is what you strive for. So now, you have to live up to those expectations. The belief is the key. You got to understand that we got here for a reason. We got here a certain way.”

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