George Allen (American football coach)

George Herbert Allen (April 29, 1918 – December 31, 1990) was an American football coach. He served as the head coach for two teams in the National Football League (NFL), the Los Angeles Rams from 1966 to 1970 and the Washington Redskins from 1971 to 1977. Allen led his teams to winning records in all 12 of his seasons as an NFL head coach, compiling an overall regular-season record of 116–47–5. Seven of his teams qualified for the NFL playoffs, including the 1972 Washington Redskins, who reached Super Bowl VII before losing to Don Shula‘s Miami Dolphins. Allen made a brief return as head coach of the Rams in 1978, but was fired before the regular season commenced.

For other college football coaches, see George E. Allen and George E. Allen (coach).
American football coach

George Allen

Allen, c. 1981
Position: Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1918-04-29)April 29, 1918
Nelson County, Virginia
Died: December 31, 1990(1990-12-31) (aged 72)
Palos Verdes Estates, California
Career information
College: Eastern Michigan
University of Michigan
Career history
As a coach:
Assistant (sprint football)
Offensive ends coach
– Consultant / Head of player personnel (1958)
– Assistant / Head of player personnel (1959–1961)
– Defensive Coordinator / Head of player personnel (1962–1965)
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Win-loss record: 116–47–5
Winning percentage: .712
Playoff record: 2–7
Coaching stats at PFR
George Allen
Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
In office
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Al McGuire
Succeeded by Dick Kazmaier
Personal details
Spouse(s) Henriette “Etty” Lumbroso Allen
Children 3 sons, 1 daughter

Allen began his coaching career at the college football level, serving as head football coach at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa from 1948 to 1950 and Whittier College in Whittier, California from 1951 to 1956. He moved to the NFL in 1957 as an assistant coach for the Rams under head coach Sid Gillman. Allen then spent eight years, from 1958 to 1965, as an assistant coach and head of player personnel for the NFL’s Chicago Bears before returning to the Rams as head coach in 1966.

After three years as a broadcaster for CBS Sports, from 1978 and 1981, and a short stint as an executive with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 1982, Allen resumed coaching in 1983 as head coach for the Chicago Blitz of the newly formed United States Football League (USFL). The following year, he served as head coach of the USFL’s Arizona Wranglers, leading them to the league’s title game, where the Wranglers lost to the Philadelphia Stars. After a second hiatus from coaching, Allen returned to the game a final time, serving as head football coach for one season, in 1990, at California State University, Long Beach. In ten seasons as a college football head coach, Allen amassed a record of 53–38–7.

Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. His eldest son, George Allen is a Republican politician who served as Governor of and United States Senator from Virginia. His second son, Bruce, followed his father’s footsteps as a football coach and executive, serving as general manager for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Redskins of the NFL.

. . . George Allen (American football coach) . . .

Born in Nelson County, Virginia, Allen was the son of Loretta M. and Earl Raymond Allen, who was recorded in the 1920 and 1930 U.S. census records for Wayne County, Michigan as working as a chauffeur to a private family. He earned varsity letters in football, track and basketball at Lake Shore High School[1] in St. Clair Shores, Michigan; having graduated in 1940.

Allen went to Alma College in Alma, Michigan and later at Marquette University in Milwaukee, where he was sent as an officer trainee in the United States Navy‘s V-12 Navy College Training Program. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in education from Michigan State Normal College—now known as Eastern Michigan University—in Ypsilanti and then attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he earned a Master of Science degree in physical education in 1947.

Allen was the head football coach at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. The Morningside team was called the Chiefs at that time. He held that position for three seasons, from 1948 through 1950. His coaching record at Morningside was 16–11–2.[2]

Allen was the head football coach at Whittier College in Whittier, California for six seasons, where he was 32–22–5 from 1951 through 1956. He was also the head baseball coach there from 1952 to 1957.

Allen joined the Los Angeles Rams staff in 1957, under fellow Hall of Fame coach Sid Gillman. Allen was dismissed after one season, and after several months residing in Los Angeles out of football, he was brought to Chicago during the 1958 season by George Halas, founding owner and head coach of the Chicago Bears. The original purpose of Allen’s hiring was to scout the Rams, whom the Bears would play twice during the season; Allen was asked for insights into Gillman’s, and the Rams’, offensive strategy and signals. Allen’s thoroughness and attention to detail so impressed Halas that he eventually earned a full-time position on the coaching staff. During the latter stages of the 1962 season Allen replaced veteran Clark Shaughnessy as Halas’ top defensive assistant, effectively making him the Bears’ defensive coordinator.

His defensive schemes and tactics—and his strong motivational skills—helped make the Bears’ unit one of the stingiest of its era. Allen’s presence also had a formative effect on such future Hall of Fame players as linebacker Bill George and end Doug Atkins during their most productive years. By 1963, in his first full season in charge of the Bears’ defense, Allen’s innovative strategies helped the Bears yield a league-low 144 total points, 62 fewer than any other team, and earn an 11–1–2 record that was a half-game better than the two-time defending league champion Green Bay Packers and allowed the Bears to host the NFL championship game. Following their 14–10 victory over the New York Giants on December 29 at frigid Wrigley Field, the Bears’ players awarded Allen the “game ball.” NBC‘s post-game locker-room television coverage infamously captured Bears players singing “Hooray for George, hooray at last; hooray for George, he’s a horse’s ass!”[3]

Allen was also given responsibility for the Bears’ college player drafts; most likely his best-remembered choices were three players who won election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and became household names in American sport—end Mike Ditka (chosen in 1961), halfback Gale Sayers and middle linebacker Dick Butkus (1965). Allen’s was the most common name to be suggested as a replacement for Halas should the grand old man of the league decide to step down. Jeff Davis‘s biography Papa Bear states that Halas informally told Allen in 1964 and 1965 that he would ultimately name him as head coach. But in 1965, after a 9–5 Bears finish that earned the iron-willed Halas NFL Coach of the Year honors, Allen decided to look elsewhere to fulfill his head-coaching ambitions. Halas stayed on as head coach through the 1967 season.

. . . George Allen (American football coach) . . .

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. . . George Allen (American football coach) . . .

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