Indiana fans have been through the highs and lows with head coach Tom Allen.
Following an eight win 2019 season, Allen was the national coach of the year in 2020 as he led the Hoosiers to a 6-1 regular season with wins over Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin.
That two year run has been sandwiched by the kind of frustration IU football fans are accustomed to. There were back-to-back five wins seasons in 2017 and 2018, and the last two years have been downright miserable.
The fans have ridden the wave of emotions in a predictable manner. Allen was ridiculed as just a high school coach in the early years, then he was a hero, and now he’s back to being unable to do much right in their eyes.
But that’s the on the field perception of Allen.
One thing that has never really wavered is how people talk about the 53-year-old off the field. By all accounts, Allen is one of the good guys, and the latest example came by way of one of his newest players. While some will deride his Love Each Other “LEO” culture, it’s heartfelt. Allen believes in it, and one of his players recently saw that first hand.
When defensive lineman Philip Blidi entered the transfer portal following the 2022 season, he had different priorities than your typical college football player. Married with a daughter and another child on the way, Blidi had needs that extended beyond the field and training room.
“You want to be somewhere that really cares about the players, and really care about you outside of football,” Blidi said in January soon after he arrived in Bloomington. “You want to know that they’re going to take care of you while you’re here, and take care of you outside when you have problems and stuff. Definitely from that aspect, all of the (Indiana) coaches fit that.”
Blidi had a major challenge outside of the IU football complex not long after he arrived at IU that would put his perception of the staff to the test.
While he was out of town, his wife went into labor with their second child. He’s from New Mexico and new to Bloomington. His family didn’t have any kind of real local support system.
At an alumni event last week, Blidi conveyed it was none other than Allen who was the first person to arrive at the hospital in support of his wife.
“Coach Allen is one of the most genuine men I’ve ever met,” Blidi said of the moment on his Twitter page. “Our family is so thankful for the Allen’s and the continued support from our Hoosier Fam.”
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