IU Football Coach Gifts Weight Room to Father’s Alma Mater

Franklin College has announced a gift commitment from Indiana University head football coach Tom Allen to construct a weight room in honor of his father, Tom Allen Sr., a 1961 alumnus of Franklin College. 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. “This facility enhancement will make a significant impact on the campus community, and especially our athletic programs.”

IUThe 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 Tom 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 Barn, now known as the Fitness Center. The equipment included a bale of hay and some concrete blocks. Thus, Tom Allen Sr. was responsible for the first weight training effort on the Franklin campus. His son’s gift to create a second state-of-the-art weight room on campus continues the Allen family legacy.

“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 Tracy Allen.

“The modern athlete utilizes strength-based training as a fundamental part of their training regimen,” said Andrew Hendricks, athletic director for Franklin College. “This new weight room will give us an increased advantage in recruitment and student-athlete development.”

Hendricks went on to note that the college’s athletic program has expanded significantly in recent years, with nearly 44 percent of its student body participating in the 21 men’s and women’s sports. In 2020, the existing weight room was booked for team training nearly every day of the week, all day long.

In December 2020, the college announced a one million dollar commitment from Johnson Memorial Health (JMH) to construct the Johnson Memorial Health Athletics Annex on campus. The annex will be an indoor multi-use facility located on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and Second Street on campus. In addition to the new weight room, it will feature retractable batting cages for use by the baseball and softball teams, along with similar areas suitable for men’s and women’s golf. With the hitting cages retracted, the open space will provide indoor practice space for many sports.

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The college plans to break ground on the new facility during the fall semester.