Two-Time Indiana Football Captain Terry Tallen: the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Indiana University honored former football captain Terry Tallen with the prestigious Laurel Pin Conferral Award on Saturday night for all of his philanthropic donations to the university. His former coach Lee Corso, current Indiana head coach Tom Allen, and former IU athletic director Fred Glass all spoke about Tallen, who is the gift that keeps on giving.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. —Two-time Indiana football captain, defensive standout, philanthropist and Kelley School of Business alumnus Terry Tallen knows what it’s like to receive a scholarship to Indiana University to play the game he loves at the highest level.

The greater Cincinnati native earned a scholarship in 1977 that would propel him into a highly successful college football career for four seasons at Indiana, but even more importantly, it set the stage to get the education he needed to have a successful career in commercial real estate.

All of that success has allowed him to give back to the university he loves.

Forty-plus years later, the longstanding California resident found himself back on his old turf to receive one of the most prestigious awards the university bestows, the cherished Laurel Pin Conferral Award presented by Indiana University president Pamela Whitten and IU Foundation CEO and president J.T. Forbes on Saturday night during an event at the IU Auditorium.

The Laurel Pin honors the most generous philanthropists and their significant gifts to Indiana. The Laurel Pin recipients’ generous giving makes a great institution of higher education even better.

Fred Glass, the former Indiana vice president and director of athletics and author of the popular part autobiography and part oral history of Indiana University, ‘Making Your Luck,’ said Tallen is only the second football alumnus to receive this award.

“There’s nobody who’s done more as a student, athlete and financial supporter of IU football,” Glass said. “People need to see it before they can be it, and when they see Terry step up and do that, I think it can and has inspired athletes to do the same.”

Humbled by the Laurel Pin honor, Tallen credits his success and ability to donate funds to his time spent as a Hoosier, the Kelly Business school education and plenty of hard work.

“To come here to Indiana and be in this position some 40 years later, it’s very gratifying,” Tallen said. “I am living proof of what one could achieve with an IU education, a strong work ethic and a little good fortune. In large part, the good fortune is due to the life-long relationships and friendships established with IU leadership, faculty, coaches, teammates and fellow students at IU.

“The contributions that I’ve made to Indiana University over the years were done with love, and they were absolutely intentional with the objective of being inspirational as well as aspirational for past, present and future IU student athletes to not only pay it back, but pay it forward to future generations of Indiana University student-athletes regardless of sport.”

In 2019, Tallen struck a deal with Glass and current athletic director Scott Dolson and donated $2 million to build a 25,000 square-foot football complex situated below the west stands of Memorial Stadium.

“You have to have a great locker room,” Tallen said. “You have to have all the bells and whistles in the locker room. We are competitive in all matters. In the hyper-competitive world of major college football recruiting, you must have the very best facilities and we have achieved this objective. Our athletic facilities are second to none.”

Yes, the complex is complete with a barber shop where players are known to cut each other’s hair. The shop, along with the rest of the locker room space, is named the Terry Tallen Indiana Football Complex in honor of his generous donation.

“One of the greatest personal rewards to me was seeing the video when the players, our great coach Tom Allen and Fred Glass entered the facility and they saw it first opened and ready to go,” Tallen said. “The enthusiasm was extraordinary. It really touched my heart.”

Indiana football coach Tom Allen said that past, present and future athletes are reaping the benefits of the state-of-the-art facility giving athletes another reason to go to IU.

“They were just thrilled,” Allen said. “When they got to see the finished product, they went nuts. It’s first class. We bring recruits in there, their parents in there. They’re just like ‘wow.’”

Tallen’s philanthropic contributions don’t end there. Since 2008, Tallen has sponsored an annual scholarship, The Terry Tallen Football Leadership Scholarship granted to a deserving football team captain enrolled in the Kelley School of Business who demonstrates leadership on and off the field.

Linebacker Micah McFadden, the most recent scholarship winner, was just selected by the New York Giants on Saturday in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Former scholarship recipients Wes Martin and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine are also playing professionally.

Still, he gives more than just money. He also devotes a lot of time to help students as well. Tallen often visits the Kelley School of Business as a guest lecturer in the Real Estate School. He is a successful long standing commercial real estate investor and developer, public speaker and philanthropist always willing to give business students advice.

Allen is thrilled to show his players what an Indiana football alumnus can do long after hanging up the cleats following that final game.

”They can see his success that he’s had in life from a professional perspective,” Allen said. “You can see him be able to articulate the vision he had for being able to give back and what he experienced when he was here at Indiana and how much it benefitted him.”

Allen said he sees Tallen in some of his current players, young men who exemplify intelligence, toughness and dependability.