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Kevin Wilson resigned as head football coach at Indiana, and defensive coordinator Tom Allen was promoted to head coach on a permanent basis, the school announced Thursday evening.
The change occurred even though the Hoosiers are bowl-eligible for the second consecutive season. The Hoosiers (6-6, 4-5 Big Ten) last made consecutive bowl appearances in 1990-91.
Players were told of the changes in a meeting early Thursday evening, the Indianapolis Star reported.
“I appreciate Coach Wilson’s many positive contributions to our football program,” athletic director Fred Glass said. “This has nothing to do with the performance of the football team, which I view as quite positive and very much heading in the right direction.”
Glass said no NCAA compliance issues were involved in the resignation.
According to the Star, Glass met with Wilson in his office Thursday morning and accepted Wilson’s resignation “based on the philosophical differences we have in terms of leadership of Indiana football program.”
ESPN reported that at least five former Indiana players were interviewed by the administration about Wilson’s treatment of the players. An ex-Hoosiers player was the source of that report.
Wilson owns a 26-47 record in his six seasons in Bloomington, although the team won six games in each of the past two seasons — a dramatic rise from a 1-11 campaign in his first year.
“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. “I quickly concluded that person was in our midst in Tom Allen. He is a leader of men. 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.”
Allen has a lot of coaching experience, but he has never been a collegiate head coach.
Wilson brought Allen to Indiana from South Florida in January to try to fix the Hoosiers’ defense. The Hoosiers showed great improvement on the defensive side, reducing points allowed from 37.62 in 2015 to 27.33 in 2016, and cutting down yards allowed per game from 509.5 in 2015 to 372.6 this season.
“It’s hard to believe,” Allen said during his introduction as head coach. “This day has been an absolute whirlwind. Unbelievable. But I do know this: In the year that I’ve been here, it became very, very obvious to me of Fred’s commitment to this football program, to Indiana athletics, to the facility upgrades that we’ve seen, the facility upgrades that we’re about to see, and his passion for the student-athletes at our great university.
“Our immediate goal is to prepare for our bowl game. We’re going to keep our staff intact, adjust guys around to make sure we have everything covered for this bowl game, and attack it with the energy and passion, the only way I know how.”
Iowa isn't scheduled to play Indiana again until Oct. 13, 2018 in Bloomington.