Whether on a scrap of grass by the cornfields of western Iowa or the plush turf of RFK Stadium, in near anonymity or the focal point of millions of eyes, George Allen always has loved to move and motivate people. It's part of how he's always earned a living.

He especially loves moving 11 football players toward victory -- which he will do again this fall for the first time in six years.

"Every day has to be a big day," the former Washington Redskins coach told about 100 people yesterday at the Touchdown Club in Washington.

It was a fairly big day for the club and for Allen, who was inducted into the Touchdown Club's Hall of Fame during a ceremony last night.

While Diron Talbert, Billy Kilmer and others from the Redskins' "Over-the-Hill Gang" spoke of Allen's past, Allen spoke of his future. Having turned 72 in April, he is starting over, almost from scratch.

Last December he signed a reported five-year contract to coach Long Beach State, a program that was nearly canceled in 1986 for lack of interest. The 49ers' stadium holds fewer than 13,000. But capacity is a problem for the future, since the team drew an average of 2,650 spectators during last season's 4-8 campaign. Three losses to Fresno State, Hawaii and Oregon were by a combined score of 167-20.

Allen's 49ers will begin the 1990 season by playing at Clemson.

"If you start feeling sorry for yourselves, if you're not selling cars, think of old George Allen," he told a crowd of coaches and business people.

"A few months ago, I was talking to a guy doing a book on George," Talbert said of former Washington Post reporter Gary Pomerantz. "He asked how old I thought George would be when he dies. I said I thought he was one of the few people I know that could live to 100. But when he took the Long Beach State job, it knocked him down to 90."

Allen, who led the Redskins to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1973, was fired after the 1977 season in a contract dispute with then-team president Edward Bennett Williams. After a six-week stint with the Los Angeles Rams and a five-year retirement, he coached two seasons in the U.S. Football League. Since 1984, he has been living in Palos Verdes, Calif., when he wasn't on the road earning money as a motivational speaker. Today he leaves for Chicago.

"Can you imagine this?" he said after the breakfast. "I'm speaking at a psychological convention. I'm not a psychologist or anything. I'm just a football coach. They want me to speak to a group of psychologists. I'm just an amateur."

Allen also has been involved with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and was the head of the National Fitness Foundation until he accepted the Long Beach State job. Allen has practiced what he's preached: He looked fit and trim in a tan summer suit. His hair still has that harsh part and his eyebrows are still bushy, though grayer. The crows feet and crevices in his forehead are deeper, filled with his slightly eccentric, football-oriented wisdom and all sorts of stories.

He will need it all at Long Beach State.

"As Bruce {Allen, his son and agent} said, you're going to have to get used to losing and suffering," Allen said. "I don't know. I think the second year, third year, we can turn it around. We didn't have enough players to play the spring game. We only had three defensive linemen. The most we had at any practice was seven and we're going to use a four-man line."

Allen began his coaching career at Morningside College in 1948 in Sioux City, Iowa. Since then the NCAA rule book has become much thicker.

"It seems like whatever is logical, you can't do it," he said. "If it seems like it is okay -- you better double-check it."

The other change from the pros is recruiting. Allen, who used to trade draft picks and young players for aging veterans, now must convince 17- and 18-year-olds that Long Beach State is the place for them. He is not above mentioning that he is three for three in getting commitments from players he's visited at home, even though their parents are likely to know Allen better than their kids do.

"The first home I went to was of Mark Esposito of Oceanside, California," said Allen. "The father and the mother and the grandparents were there and they greeted me so enthusiastically. People were coming in from around the neighborhood. The young kids had never heard of George Allen. The parents and grandparents had."

Allen laughed about the school chartering a plane so the team can get out of Clemson quickly after the Sept. 1 game in Death Valley.

"I'm going to try to use the approach that this will make us a better team, rain or shine, that we will learn something from it and not everything is evaluated on winning and losing," Allen said.

Not everything is evaluated on winning and losing? This from the man who, in his motivational video, talks about making the switchboard operator at Redskins Park work harder after a loss. It has to be hard to say, much less mean.

"It is, but I'll overcome it," he said. "I won't let it bother me."