Ten days after Manny Diaz was officially announced as Duke’s new head football coach, it appears that Penn State has found his replacement in former Indiana head coach Tom Allen, as first reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel:
Sources: Penn State is targeting former Indiana coach Tom Allen to be the school’s next defensive coordinator. Deal is being finalized and is expected to come together in the upcoming days.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 17, 2023
Allen went 33-49 in seven seasons as Indiana’s head coach before being fired in late November of this year. He was initially brought into IU as their defensive coordinator back in 2016 and helped engineer a swift turnaround of a previously porous defense before being promoted to head coach after Kevin Wilson was abruptly fired. His tenure at head coach saw back-to-back winning seasons and bowl appearances in 2019-2020, with the latter season being a rather memorable one that saw the Hoosiers go 6-2 overall and 6-1 in Big Ten play that included wins over Penn State* and Michigan. Unfortunately for Tom, that 2020 season ended up being the pinnacle of his tenure in Bloomington, as things cratered afterwards, with the Hoosiers going 2-10, 4-8, and 3-9 over the next three years respectively, before IU brass decided it was time for a change.
We will have all offseason long to talk about what this hire means for the defense going forward, but James Franklin has emphasized that when he hires coordinators, he does so expecting them to be the head coaches of their respective side of the ball. Also, given how well hiring a recently-fired head coach seemed to work out for the defense last time, perhaps dipping back into that well might be a good idea, not to mention the fact that Allen will be working with a greater collection of talent and depth than he ever could’ve dreamed of having at Indiana.
Welcome to Happy Valley, Coach!
* Michael Penix was of course, short of the pylon, and I hope somebody asks him at his introductory press conference whether he still believes otherwise.