Whittier College News Release
Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee George Allen Had First Championship Season at Whittier College
During his years as head coach with the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins, George Allen, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 3, earned a reputation for building championship football teams. But Allen's first championship team wasn't the Rams or the Redskins, but rather the Whittier College Poets. Allen led the Poets to their league championship in 1952.
Allen coached at Whittier College, a national liberal arts college, from 1951 through 1956. Prior to coming to Whittier, he coached at Morningside College. Following his tenure at Whittier, Allen began his professional coaching career with the Los Angeles Rams in 1957. In 1958 he joined the coaching staff of the Chicago Bears before returning to the Rams as head coach in 1966, where he turned around that team's losing streak.
In 1971, Allen became head coach of the Washington Redskins, furthering his reputation as a coach who could turn losing teams into winners. After Allen retired from the NFL, he coached for the Arizona Wranglers and the Chicago Blitz of the United States Football League.
Although it is highly unusual for a coach or athlete from a small college to go onto a coaching career in professional football, Allen is not the only Whittier coach or player to have done so. Jerry Burns, backfield coach under Allen at Whittier during the 1950s, went on to become head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. Don Coryell, who replaced Allen at Whittier, went on to become head coach for the San Diego Chargers. Russ Purnell, who graduated from Whittier College in 1970, is special teams coach for the Indianapolis Colts, and Jim Skipper, who graduated from Whittier College in 1973, is running back coach for the Carolina Panthers.
Whittier College is a member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. SCIAC strives to encourage the highest ideals of amateur sports in an environment of high academic standards. Other SCIAC institutions include Pomona College, Occidental College and the California Institute of Technology.
Located 18 miles east of Los Angeles, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering traditional liberal arts majors and strong pre-professional programs taught in the context of the liberal arts. Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Costa Mesa.
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