IU football head coach Tom Allen’s father, Tom Allen, Sr., was responsible for the first weight training effort on the campus of Franklin College.
It wasn’t much — just a bale of hay and some concrete blocks.
There have of course been upgrades since. But now 63 years since those humble origins, the Allen family will play a significant role in weight training at the school once again.
Franklin College has announced a gift commitment from IU’s Tom Allen to construct a weight room in honor of Tom Allen Sr., a 1961 alumnus. The state-of-the-art weight room will be housed in the new Johnson Memorial Health Athletics Annex on campus.
“This generous gift from Coach Allen provides a long-lasting legacy in honor of his father, and we are very grateful to him and the entire Allen family for their support,” said Kerry N. Prather, president of Franklin College said in a release by the school. “This facility enhancement will make a significant impact on the campus community, and especially our athletic programs.”
The new weight room will be the second on campus and, when combined with the existing weight room located in Spurlock Center, will more than double the dedicated weight training space available. The additional capacity will allow more flexibility in scheduling team workouts and provide more availability for non-athlete students, faculty and staff.
Strength training began at the college in 1958, when Allen Sr., a member of the football team, went to then head football coach Stewart “Red” Faught and persuaded him to get “a little bit of weight training equipment” for their training facility. The equipment included a bale of hay and some concrete blocks.
Allen, Sr., who grew up in a farming community 20 miles east of Columbus and first fell in love with the game after going to Bloomington to watch an IU vs. Purdue contest in the 1950s. He watched players like Brad Bomba who would later become a team physician. Allen, Sr. didn’t play in high school but joined the Franklin team and he would later coach his sons at New Castle High School. Now with Tom, Jr. the head coach at IU and in a position to make the gift, the circle to the family’s football origins in Franklin is complete.
“This gift to Franklin College presented our family an opportunity to give back to an Indiana community, while at the same time honoring dad in a way that reflects his passion for instilling in us the value of hard work,” said Tom and his wife Tracy Allen in the release.
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