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Former IU football DC Kane Wommack on Tom Allen: “He really is a special man”

Now that he’s completed his responsibilities at Indiana and is devoting himself full-time to his new job as the head coach at South Alabama, Kane Wommack is making the media rounds in his new state trying to drum up attention for the Sun Belt program he’s trying to rebuild. Those interviews could also create some positive press for Indiana in the South, as Wommack takes questions about his former program and his former boss, Tom Allen.

Wommack appeared on 3-Man Front Friday, a 10 PM to 2 PM sports talk show on WJOX FM in Birmingham, Ala. The hosts asked Wommack what made Allen special to work for.

“Tom Allen really is a special man,” Wommack said. “He’s probably one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet. He believes in what he believes. The two things we really took away is the LEO mindset. It’s a Love Each Other mentality. It’s not a lovey-dovey feeling that we have in the building. Tom has a hard background, football player and wrestler. That’s his background. He’s a tough-nosed dude, but at the same time the way we treat each other and considering others above yourself, that was a big part of LEO and what we were doing there. You couple that mindset where we take care of people and you treat them with respect and love, with a relentless detail in accomplishing the vision of what we want to do. I think Tom does a phenomenal job. What I learned in three years, whatever our vision was it’s the head coach’s job to keep everyone connected to the detail of accomplishing that vision.”

Wommack was also asked about Micah McFadden, the Hoosiers’ middle linebacker who earned third-team All-America honors this season. The host asked if he’d ever seen a linebacker with a bigger neck than McFadden.

“It didn’t used to be that big,” Wommack said. “It’s like a chipmunk storing nuts in the side of their mouth. There has to be some gland in his neck. Boy, that dude was built to be a linebacker. If there’s someone else who has a prettier linebacker build, I’m not sure. He’s a very gifted player. So instinctive, and certainly he’s got a body built. I’m not sure in the three years he ever came out a rep for injury. You have bodies that are built for durability. If you think about his value at the next level at the NFL, that is going to pay dividends for his career going forward.”

Wommack said lack of ability to go on the road extensively to recruit actually helped him split responsibilities between his new program and his old program during Outback Bowl preparation, but said that even if he had taken a new job in a normal year he would have stayed to coach the bowl game out of principle.

“There is a code of ethics we need to live by in this profession,” Wommack said. “You do so much as the defensive coordinator at Indiana. You recruit those players and you work hard for them. I think everybody in our profession needs to understand that you should finish well with your program. Does that mean there’s a little bit of give and take on both sides? Absolutely, but I think there’s a way to do that.”

Wommack inherits a South Alabama program that has only existed since 2009 and hasn’t played in a bowl game since 2016. The Jaguars are 13-34 in the four years since and were 4-7 this past season. However, Wommack said he believes he has the backing to build a strong Sun Belt program.

“Mobile is what intrigued me about South Alabama football,” Wommack said. “I have fallen in love with this city and the town and the people certainly. When you think of the culture that is in this city and the diversity that is in this city, now more than ever in terms of where our nation is, what an awesome opportunity it is to lead South Alabama and connect our football program to the city of Mobile. There are great resources both financial and otherwise in this community that certainly, you want to be able to tap into those things, but I think more importantly it’s our job to show this city that we stand for them and that we love the people and we want to bring pride for Mobile.”

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