Indiana coach Tom Allen might have looked uncomfortable in a suit and tie Thursday night.
He seemed completely at ease in his new job.
Shortly after the Memorial Stadium gates opened around 5:30 p.m., the first-time college head coach walked onto the field, saw the fans and started jumping up to give them high-fives.
Allen wasn’t just excited to make his home debut, he was occasinally teary-eyed and reflective about just how much this job means to a small-town Indiana guy. He played for his father then followed his dad's career path and now feels like he's trying to represent the city of New Castle, Indiana, on the sideline.
“It’s just so personal,” Allen told ESPN, his voice cracking. “I've got so many family and friends out there cheering us on.”
Allen took over last December after Kevin Wilson’s surprise resignation. He coached the Hoosiers in the Foster Farms Bowl, a 26-24 loss.
He’s hoping for a better result against No. 2 Ohio State in a game Allen has dubbed the biggest season opener in school history.