Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dick Vermeil to speak at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., Sept. 10, 2008 -- Long-time football coach and broadcaster Dick Vermeil will be the featured speaker Monday, October 13 at a dinner on the Penn State campus on behalf of amateur football.
Vermeil’s appearance is co-sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, the State College Quarterback Club, the Patton Township Business Association, and the Central Pennsylvania High School Football Coaches Association.

Vermeil will speak about his experiences in football, dating back to his high school and collegiate playing days in northern California through his 15-year professional coaching career. He also will take questions from the audience following his presentation.

“We are very pleased to have Dick Vermeil visit our community to help us promote the virtues of amateur football,” said Frank Rocco, president of the local Hall of Fame chapter and one of the organizers of the dinner.

“His coaching career has been defined by his great passion for the game and by the mutual respect and caring he has shared with his players at every level It is going to be an exciting evening.”

As a way to acknowledge Vermeil’s appearance, the co-sponsors will establish a $1,000 scholarship award in his name that will be presented in April, 2009 at the annual scholarship dinner of the Central Pennsylvania

Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. That scholarship dinner honors more than 40 high school seniors and eight college seniors in some 10 Central Pennsylvania counties.

Vermeil has the rare distinction of being named “Coach of the Year” on four levels of football: high school, junior college, NCAA Division I and the National Football League. He also is the only coach to win the Rose Bowl and the Super Bowl.

Vermeil was the head coach at UCLA during the 1974 and ‘75 seasons, leading the Bruins to a 23-10 upset victory over then No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes in the 1976 Rose Bowl, before coaching three different National Football League teams. He is best known in central Pennsylvania for the seven years he coached the Philadelphia Eagles, from 1976-1982. After struggling to rebuild the Eagles in his first two seasons, Vermeil led Philadelphia into the playoffs four straight times. He took his 1980 team all the way to the Super Bowl, before losing to Oakland.

Vermeil retired from coaching after the 1982 season and spent the next 14 years as an entrepreneur in the wine industry of Northern California and working as a football television analyst. He returned to coaching with the St. Louis Rams in 1997 and two years later the Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV. Vermeil retired again after the Super Bowl victory but the coaching lure was too much for him to resist and he returned to the sidelines in 2001 to coach the Kansas City Chiefs. It was as the Chiefs’ head coach that Vermeil made Penn State’s All-American running back Larry Johnson the team’s No. 1 draft choice in 2003. Vermeil retired permanently at the end of the 2005 season and lives on a ranch in Chester County, PA.

The Oct. 13 dinner is open to the public and will be held at the Nittany Lion Inn. It will start with a reception for Vermeil at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:15 p.m. The cost for the reception and dinner is $35. Reservations can be made by calling 814-867-2822.

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