George Allen was one of the more successful professional football coaches, in terms of number of wins, in the history of American football, and especially in the National Football League [NFL]. During his tenure, as a head football coach in the NFL, he made winners out of two losing teams he coached. When he took over the head coaching position for the Los Angeles Rams in 1966, the team had had seven losing seasons. Allen transformed the Rams into a winner in the first year he coached, and then followed it up with four more winning seasons. Apparently his performance was not quite as good as expected by the management of the team, and he was fired by the Rams owner, Dan Reaves. During his tenure at the Rams, he was voted coach of the year in 1967.
In 1971, Allen became the head football coach for the Washington Redskins. Prior to that year, the Redskins had had only one winning season in 15 years. The first year Allen coached the Redskins, the team finished with nine wins, four losses and one tie. In the following year, the Redskins made it to the Super Bowl. He continued to coach the Redskins for seven years until 1977.
To sum it all up, during the 12 years Allen served as a head football coach in the NFL, his teams never had a losing season. Allen also had the third best winning percentage [.681] in the entire history of the NFL. It was only surpassed by Vince Lombardi, with a .736, and by John Madden, with a .731 winning percentage.
Allen was a defensive innovator, and was known for his strategy of using experienced players, instead of building younger talent. When he took over coaching duties for the Los Angeles Rams, and for the Washington Redskins, Allen engaged in extensive trading to build up each team with experienced players. One measure of his trading frequency is the number of trades he made during the 12 seasons he served as a NFL football coach. The number of trades amounted to 131, with 81 trades during his Washington Redskins head coaching tenure.
Allen began his coaching career by coaching college football teams following the completion of his college studies. He attended Alma College, Marquette University and the University of Michigan, from where he earned his M.S. degree in Physical Education in 1947. In 1948, he became the head football coach at Morningside College in Iowa. During the three years at Morningside College, he achieved a record of 15 wins, 2 losses and 2 ties. From 1951 to 1956, he coached at Whittier College in California, where he enabled the team to win 32 games, lose only 22 games, and tie 5 games, again a winning record.
During the 1957 to 1965 time period, Allen worked in several assistant football coaching positions, for such NFL teams as the Los Angeles Rams and the Chicago Bears. He was able to come up with some innovative ideas, and eventually became known as a defensive specialist.
When Allen retired from coaching in the NFL in 1977, he was 59 years old. He had done his part in building the NFL in what it is today. But retirement does not come easy for ex- football coaches. Not being able to get assignments in the NFL, he served as head coach in the United States Football League [USFL] with the Chicago Blitz and the Arizona Wranglers. In 1990, he returned to college coaching, coaching for one year at Long Beach State University in California. It would be his last head coaching job. Allen passed away on December 31, 1990 at Palos Verdes Estates, California from a heart condition, at age 72.
George Allen achieved his success as a football coach largely through innovative ideas, motivating players, and hard work. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame posthumously in 2002, an award he deserved without reservation.
George Allen was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 29, 1918. Allen was married and had four children. Two of his children achieved some fame on their own. His son, George Allen, is the former U. S. Senator from Virginia, and another son, Bruce Allen, is the manager of an NFL football team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Tampa Bay, Florida.
George Allen, Class of 2002, http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=14
George Allen [football], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Allen_(football)
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