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Tom Allen considers challenge accepting coordinator role after being head coach

IMG_6598by:Nick Kosko01/29/24


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Tom Allen knew it could be a challenge to change from head coach to focusing squarely on one side of the ball as the defensive coordinator.

Yes, he doesn’t have to worry about other tasks as a head coach, but he’ll have more pressure to get the defense right as he transitions to Penn State. The former Indiana head coach said he looked forward to the opportunity.

He’ll be charged with making sure Penn State’s defense plays at a high level and then some in a now-expanded Big Ten.

“I stayed in that role as a DC for several of those years,” Allen said of his time as Indiana head coach. “I will say I’m looking forward to being able to just do that, you know, it’s really challenging to do both. And as things have changed the last few years, it’s almost impossible to do both. But so I look forward to just focusing on being the best defensive coordinator I can.”

Consider it a fresh start for Allen, who saw the ups and downs as a head coach of Indiana over the last near-decade.

“Even as I talked to James (Franklin) about this, and he asked me about transitioning back and I said, I’m actually pretty excited about it,” Allen said. “There’s a lot of things you have to do as the head coach that aren’t as enjoyable as coaching football. And I love impacting the lives of the players. And I think I can focus on that solely now and not have to be called out of meetings and handle things that head coaches have to handle. 

“And as the complexity of our college game has increased the last few years it’s even gotten more challenging. So I’m really, really looking forward to be able to focus on the thing that I need to do.”
This could’ve been an opportunity for Allen to take some time for himself and his family and not coach in 2024. However, it’s his identity and he didn’t want to sit on the theoretical sidelines this fall.

He wanted to jump right back into it.

“I think, for me? I’m a football coach. Just love what I do. This opportunity that presented itself in this timeframe was one that I immediately had interest in,” Allen said. “Obviously, a chance to go further into that, coach, and go through the process. For me? I really expected to get back into it once things happened as they did. Probably a little quicker than expected but, once again, that’s the part you don’t control.”