While most Indiana fans were focused on the Basketball Hoosiers' sluggish start in Minneapolis, some huge news broke for the Indiana this afternoon out of Tampa. According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, South Florida defensive coordinator Tom Allen has left the program to take the same role at Indiana. From the Times' Joey Knight:
USF coach Willie Taggart has been forced to shake up his coaching staff on one of the busiest recruiting weekends of the year.
The school confirmed early Saturday afternoon Tom Allen has resigned after one highly successful season as Bulls defensive coordinator. The Tampa Bay Times has learned Allen will take the same job at Indiana.
Longtime Taggart assistant Raymond Woodie, the Bulls linebackers/special teams coach last season, will replace Allen.
"Tom notified me Friday that he had accepted an offer to become defensive coordinator at another program," Taggart said in a USF news release. "We thank Tom for the energy and contributions he brought to our program over the last year and we wish him well as he continues his career."
Geographically (and presumably, financially) the move makes sense for Allen. An Indiana native, he played for his father at New Castle High (Steve Alford's alma mater) and had coaching stops at the high school and Division II levels in his home state.
The Bulls mostly flourished in his lone season in Tampa. Employing a 4-2-5 scheme to try and neutralize spread attacks, the "Bull Sharks" attack finished fourth in the American Athletic Conference in total defense (380.5 ypg) and recorded 17 interceptions by nine different players. Its 7.5 tackles for loss per game was tied for 13th nationally.
It's a huge hire and staff add for Wilson at Indiana, something that might be explained by Indiana's recent long-term commitment to the future of the football program financially. Allen's ties to the state are deep, but has a recent SEC pedigree. He spent time in the mid-2000s coaching Indiana high school power Ben Davis before moving onto the college ranks -- where he most recently coached linebackers and special teams at Ole Miss before spending his single season on Taggart's staff at USF. South Florida's defense ranked 46th nationally in Defensive S&P in 2015 and allowed Willie Taggart's team to lean on defense during the Bulls' surprising 8-4 season.
The hire is already getting national praise, too.
Per @TBTimes_Bulls South Florida defensive coordinator Tom Allen has left for the same position at Indiana. Nice hire for Kevin Wilson.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) January 16, 2016
Of course, the question is what does this mean for Brian Knorr? Take not that Indiana's been mum on this -- there's no indication anywhere that Knorr is on the way out, despite some Indiana media members citing other reports that this has occurred. It's becoming increasingly common to have co-coordinators in college football -- and that's something that Kevin Wilson had in place on his early staffs at Indiana, both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
UPDATE, 3:40 pm:
Indiana has now confirmed Allen's hiring as Indiana's new defensive coordinator. Brian Knorr won't be retained.
Indiana has hired Tom Allen as its new defensive coordinator. IU and Brian Knorr are parting ways. #iufb— Sam Beishuizen (@Sam_Beishuizen) January 16, 2016
Here's the full release from Indiana.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Tom Allen, a New Castle, Ind., native has been named Indiana's new defensive coordinator, head coach Kevin Wilson announced Saturday. Allen, a 24-year veteran, held the same position at the University of South Florida in 2015.
South Florida posted an 8-5 record and earned a trip to the Miami Beach Bowl this season. Allen mentored three all-conference selections and the American Athletic Conference's top scoring defense (19.6 points per game in league play).
"I did not know Tom personally, but was aware of his background and reached out to him when we decided to make a change," Wilson said. "We made an immediate connection. Tom will bring a ton of energy and strong leadership, and our kids will play hard. This is a positive addition as we continue to take to our program to the next level."
Brian Knorr will not return for the 2016 season. Knorr led the Hoosiers defense in 2014 and 2015.
"We appreciate the contributions Brian made to IU Football and wish him the best. He is an outstanding coach, a tremendous person, a strong family man and an awesome teammate," Wilson said. "Looking at where we are at as a program, we determined it is time for new defensive leadership as we move into the 2016 season and continue to build our program."
Allen is thrilled to return to the Hoosier State, where he served as head coach at Ben Davis High School (2004-06), defensive coordinator at Ben Davis (1998-03) and Marion High School (1997), and earned his master's degree at IU (2002).
"I am very excited to join Coach Wilson and his staff at Indiana University," Allen said. "It is rare to have the opportunity to return home to coach and to be close to family. To do that in the Big Ten is even more special. What Coach Wilson is building and the commitment Mr. Glass has made to the program, coaching staff and facilities is impressive. I am very much looking forward to helping this program continue to grow and develop."
This is Allen's seventh stop on the collegiate level and his fourth as a defensive coordinator. Over the last 21 years, the teams for which Allen has been a member of the coaching staff have posted a combined record of 216-62 (.777).