ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, CALIF., JAN. 4 -- During a memorial service today, George Allen was described as a master innovator and motivator by friends and former associates of the longtime football coach whose grandest glory came with the Washington Redskins.

"He made you feel like the most important player on the field," said former Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer, one of nine speakers in a tribute that lasted about as long as one of Allen's practices, two hours. "Wherever he is, he has it organized."

"You listen to a lot of people, you learn from a few," said Roman Gabriel, the quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams when Allen was their coach in the late 1960s. "Leave here with a tear in your eye but a twinkle in your heart."

"He was part of the American landscape," said Curtis McCray, the president of Long Beach State University, who hired Allen last year, at age 71, to turn around his school's moribund football program. "He was both a doer and dreamer."

The service, at Rolling Hills Covenant Church, was in midafternoon and followed a private funeral and burial. Allen died Monday of a cardiac spasm. The memorial began at five minutes past the hour (2 p.m.), son Bruce said, because that was the time the Sunday NFL schedule started when Allen was a coach.

The speakers included Allen's three sons -- George Jr., Greg and Bruce -- as well as one of his oldest former players, Bill Harris. Allen and Harris remained friends when both left Whittier College in the mid-1950s for better things.

Always superstitious, Allen kept making sure Harris's brother, Ben, was present at the U.S. Football League games Allen coached in the early 1980s. When horseshoes for their weekly game could not be found, Long Beach assistant coach Willie Brown said, they filled four soda cans with sand and tossed them at stakes.

Among the estimated 1,200 who attended were Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis; former players Dick Butkus, Willie Davis, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Myron Pottios and Rusty Tillman; and former Allen aides Joe Sullivan, Paul Lanham and Mike Allman. His Long Beach State players arrived together by bus.

"To me," said Davis, "he was indestructible."

"I would have bet he'd live to be 120," said Jones, the pass-rushing end on the Rams' defensive line known as the Fearsome Foursome. "I hope the boys in Canton, Ohio, take heed."

That was in reference to Allen's being nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but not elected. Said Jones: "He deserves it. No question. He presented me -- and I'm going to do all I can to get him in."

George Allen Jr. quoted his father as saying: "To be successful, you need friends; to be very successful, you need enemies." Son Greg said: "He really was a hero. He really was larger than life."

Allen's college and professional coaching career spanned six decades and began with three- and six-year stints, respectively, at Morningside (Iowa) and Whittier (Calif.) colleges in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

After eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Bears that included the drafting of future Hall of Fame players Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers and Butkus, Allen became head coach of the Los Angeles Rams in 1966.

In five seasons, the Rams finished first twice and second twice in their division, but failed to win a playoff game. Allen corrected that with the Redskins, taking them to the playoffs his first season as coach, 1971, and to the Super Bowl his second.

"What I remember most," said Lanham, "was being hired {in 1972} for about $18,500 and realizing it wasn't enough to live on at the time. I told him about it. He asked me what I'd need and I said about $3,000 more. He got it for me."

Former Redskins aide Sullivan recalled a conversation with Allen when they were in the backyard of the stunning home Allen built with a view of the Pacific.

"George wanted olive trees," Sullivan said. "But he didn't want little ones. He said: 'Let's get some big ones and plant them.' Even with trees, he was impatient."

"He had the greatest instinct for focusing on winning than anyone I've ever been associated with," said Lanham, special teams coach with the Cleveland Browns. "If we'd done that this year, we wouldn't have been 3-13."

"I traded with George more than anyone," said Don Klosterman, former general manager of the Rams and Colts. "When I was with the Colts and he was with the Redskins, George wanted to talk trade and said we should meet halfway.

"He said he'd be coming over {in a limousine} with a driver. So I rounded up a guy in the office to drive my LeBaron for me, so George and I would be meeting on equal ground."

Tom Skinner, a former chaplain with the Redskins, was the main speaker, and he recalled Allen constantly leading three cheers: "Hip, hip, hooray. Hip, hip, hooray, Hip, hip, hooray."

Actor Dabney Coleman spoke after Gabriel and noticed the ex-quarterback had held up the program that featured a picture of Allen and that an insert had fallen.

Coleman imagined Allen seated with his wife, Etty, and whispering: "You know, I believe that's the first time I've seen Roman fumble."