CALISTOGA, Calif. (BVM) – NFL coaching great Dick Vermeil finally received the long-awaited honor of being elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, becoming just the 28th coach to be inducted into Canton. His 15-year professional career heading the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs resulted in a host of personal accomplishments, along with a Super Bowl XXXIV victory.
Vermeil began his NFL tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, where the Calistoga native spent his first seven seasons as an NFL head coach. Behind an 101-54 record, Vermeil helped the Eagles to the playoffs in four straight seasons and an appearance in Super Bowl XV. His time with the team came full circle in 2022 as Vermeil selected the Eagles to be the team he entered the Hall of Fame with.
After his stint with the Eagles from 1976-1982, Vermeil would go on to broadcasting, taking a 15-year hiatus to work for both CBS and ABC. Being around the game gave the former coach an itch to return to the sidelines and after a return to Philadelphia fell through, Vermeil headed to St. Louis. His three seasons with the Rams would yield an under-.500 record but a surprising run in 2000 landed the team with one of the all-time Super Bowl moments as Vermeil led St. Louis past the Tennessee Titans. Vermeil would follow up the run with a five-year tenure with the Chiefs which included one playoff appearance.
Vermeil’s Hall of Fame career included a 126-114 all-time record, three division titles and one Super Bowl victory. As Vermeil reminisced and thanked the individuals of his past, the long-time coach made sure to bring up one important name that helped spark his future interest in coaching.
“Thank you Bill Wood,” Vermeil began in his Hall of Fame speech spotlighting the Wildcats former coach. “My Calistoga High School, 1,800 people in town, 20 kids on our team. My high school football coach that initiated my thinking about wanting to become a high school football coach.”
The California native was born in Calistoga and would go on to play at Calistoga High School, where he quarterbacked the school’s football team. His time with the program earned him the nickname, the “Calistoga Comet,” and would lead to his time playing at Napa Valley College and San Jose State.
After his playing career came to an end 1958, Vermeil jump-started his coaching career in his home state, helping as an assistant at Del Mar High School in San Jose, before moving on to Hillsdale High School in San Mateo. His time would continue elsewhere in California, this time at the collegiate level, coaching for the College of San Mateo, Napa Junior College, Stanford, and UCLA.
Vermeil still keeps close ties to the Calistoga area as he continues to source the fruit for his wine company in the city’s vineyards.
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