Redskins team President Bruce Allen, a standout punter at the University of Richmond from 1974-77, on Saturday was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
Bruce Allen certainly left his mark on the record books as a talented punter for the University of Richmond Spiders in the mid-1970s.
On Saturday, Allen, the Washington Redskins’ team president, was one of four former student-athletes inducted into the University of Richmond’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
“You know what, it’s nice, but I’m grateful for everything that I got from the University of Richmond, from the coaches to the professors and the friends that I made” Allen told Redskins.com just after the induction ceremony on the Richmond campus. “So for them to thank me doesn’t seem right – it’s more I should be thanking them.”
Allen, who wore No. 5 for the Spiders from 1974-77, developed into one of the South’s top punters throughout his Richmond career. His 40.1 yards-per-punt average is still third highest in school history.
He enjoyed an especially successful junior campaign, which, according to the school, included the fifth-highest punt average in a game (50.8 yards per punt against East Carolina) and the second highest punt average in a season – 42.9 yards per punt, which was the 16th best mark in the nation.
Allen also booted the third longest punt in UR history – a 76-yarder against ECU – and was named All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and All-South Independent that season.
In 1978, Allen was selected in the 12th round of the NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. And although his career as an NFL punter didn’t last much beyond that experience, it didn’t take long for Allen, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach George Allen, to instead start building his career in the front office.
“A 12th-round punter,” Allen said with a laugh when asked to describe his talent as a football player. “That’s how I would describe myself. That’s what I was.”
Allen joined the Redskins as the team’s executive vice president/general manager on Dec. 17, 2009, after a decorate career spanning more than three decades as a general manager and executive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders, as well as a successful run in the USFL with the Chicago Blitz and the Arizona Wranglers.
Washington would return to its winning ways with Allen, McCloughan and head coach Jay Gruden leading the way in 2015, as the Redskins claimed their second NFC East Division title in four seasons.
Allen said those experiences he learned at the University of Richmond are still being put to good use to this day.
“It’s the same things you get from all team sports: it’s learning to work with a group, the camaraderie, the sacrifice, it’s respecting your teammates, it’s being dependable,” he said. “The lessons in sports, I think, are very valuable, and it’s great to get it at the college level.”
In 2013, Allen led the charge to move the Redskins’ training camp home to Richmond, where the city and the team collaborated to build the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. For about a three-week period each year since, the training camp in Richmond has been a huge success.
“We feel we owe a debt of gratitude to the fans that have supported us, and to be able to come into a city and open it up to so many young people who would never have a chance to come to FedExField or go to any other NFL stadium, I think, has been a great tool – and not only for the Redskins, but for our Charitable Foundation,” Allen said. “Coming back to Richmond, because it’s Redskin territory, it feels good. And remember, the reason we want to do it is the coach wants a place for the players to get away, get some camaraderie in a hotel, where you’re just focusing on football, and obviously it paid dividends last year.”
Those in the Richmond community are also thankful for Allen’s support via the Redskins and their training camp in Virginia’s capital city.
Each year, University of Richmond football head coach Danny Rocco and his staff and players get an up-close-and-personal look at how an NFL team trains and prepares for its upcoming season, for example.
“Their training camp which really has hit home here, coach Danny Rocco is here, I can see him nodding his head,” said Bob Black, assistant director of athletics for the Spiders and the voice of University of Richmond athletics. “It’s been a great influence on our Spider football program, for Coach Rocco and his coaches to be able to be down there, be on the field, for our players to be able to go down there and watch an NFL team working out as they prepare for their upcoming season. So, we certainly appreciate the Redskins being here in that regard as well.”
Allen joined a 2015-16 University of Richmond Athletics Hall of Fame class that also included swimmer George Edelman, soccer standout Kristen Samuhel Clarey and basketball player Warren Mitchell.
The group was formally inducted in a ceremony at the Jepson Alumni Center on campus -- one in which former Redskins and Richmond standouts Mike Bragg and Tim Hightower were in attendance -- and was then to be recognized at halftime of Richmond’s men’s basketball game against Fordham Saturday night at the Robins Center.
Bruce's brother, George, a former Virginia governor, was also in attendance on Saturday.