IU Head Coach Tom Allen Presents at Maranatha’s Leadership Breakfast

At 7 a.m. on most class days, Maranatha’s Dining Complex is quite silent. But on April 20, 2021, it was a hub of excitement as students, faculty, and staff were joined by recent and long-time alumni, community members, and local businesspeople. Everyone was gathered to hear Indiana University Head Football Coach Tom Allen (’92) speak at Maranatha’s Leadership Breakfast. Allen was joined by his wife, Tracy (King) Allen (’92), also an MBU alum.

After a brief introduction by Steve Board, the Director of Development, Coach Allen took the floor and did what he loves to do; he captured the hearts and minds of his listeners. The title of Allen’s talk was “Faith, Football, and Leadership.” 

Allen’s presentation centered around one main idea: how to create change in a group of people. His life verse, Colossians 3:23, states, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” 

“I want to be the hardest worker on whatever staff or school where God has placed me. There is an excellence you have to have when you represent the King of Kings,” Allen stated. He shared that his life motto is to work like it depends on him and pray like it depends on God. 

Allen advocates that whatever you do, whatever life philosophy you have, it must be grounded in God’s word. He has built his entire football program on principles based in God’s word. 

Changing the Mindset

Allen shared that the first step to creating change is challenging people to change their mindset. From John 15:12, Allen has implemented a concept he calls LEO – Love Each Other. 

“It’s all about people,” Allen stated. “It matters what you fill your mind with; what you read, what you listen to, what you watch.”

“LEO is a decision you make. Christ chose to love us,” Allen asserted. “We choose to love each other.” 

Once the mindset towards other people, teammates, and coworkers changes, the behavioral changes can begin. 

Change the Expectations

When Allen began at IU as the Defensive Coordinator in 2016, he had his players participate in a mental exercise. He gave them each a notecard and had them write out their predictions for the season; games won, and games lost.  He then had them name three of the teams they thought they would lose to. Through this exercise, Allen learned what his players’ expectations were.

As the season progressed, Allen learned a lot about his team and why they were the 127th ranked defensive team in the country. 

“They lost trust with their coaches and each other,” Allen said. That first year was spent rebuilding the trust from coach to player and from player to player. 

To change the expectations, “you have to change what you do every day,” Allen claimed. The team began to change how they practiced, watched film, and, eventually, how they played. 

“It’s about preparation,” Allen asserted. “Preparation creates confidence.”

He held up his Bible for the breakfast attendees to see. “Everything we need to do to be great in this life is found right here in this Book.” 

With the expectations set, Allen sought to challenge his team to live with passion, to know what they believe and why. 

Create Belief

Allen held up a notecard that had a review of a game IU won in overtime. Allen shared that in this game, there was a 99.9% chance the other team was going to win. 

“There’s a sign that we use that means, ‘Let them score.’ And there’s a play that we practice that accompanies that,” Allen disclosed. “You go back and watch the tape and two of our guys are celebrating on the sidelines after we sent that signal.” 

“I keep this notecard on my desk,” Allen said. “It’s important to experience your belief. It’s not make-believe; talk about it like it’s real.” 

Allen encourages his team to embrace the boredom of consistency and to push each other for the betterment of the team.

To close his presentation, Allen shared three things that help you win at life: accountability, toughness, and love. 

“Take responsibility for your actions; own the people you hang out with and what you put in your mind,” Allen stated. 

“Life is hard,” he continued. “Don’t blink. Don’t let circumstances define you. Your circumstances should have nothing to do with how you prepare.”

In conclusion, Allen brought the conversation back to LEO. He has the mindset of, “I love you way too much to let you be average. I love you way too much to not tell you about Jesus.” 

“Love is about relationships,” Allen reiterated. “Love them more as a person than as an athlete.”

He quoted Galatians 6:7b, “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 

“I’m doing what I love to do and doing something that I believe has eternal value.”

At the close of the presentation, Coach Rob Thompson, Athletic Director at Maranatha presented Tracy Allen with a Sabercat Volleyball in commemoration of her three volleyball national championships during her collegiate career. Thompson presented Coach Allen with a Maranatha football helmet in commemoration of his years on the Maranatha Baptist Bible College football team. 

To view the entire presentation, click here.