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Good guy ...

Is there a football coach easier to respect and play for than Dick Vermeil? He is a thoughtful and generous person, with a quick mind and dynamic personality. And you never have to beg him for anything. He's always there for a player or an assistant coach.

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We discovered all this the first time we had to approach him. Scholastic Coach had just gone into the clinic business and decided that Philadelphia was the place to start. Almost by acclamation, Dick Vermeil was chosen as the introductory speaker.

He was the perfect leadoff man--organized, clear, and always on base. After getting his well-deserved applause, he surprised us a little. Instead of stepping out for a breather, he stayed in the hall to listen to the lectures.

As luck would have it, the session turned a bit stormy. Too many people seemed to have too much to say and couldn't wait for the right time to say it.

It was Vermeil time again. At the right moment, he rose, walked over to the blackboard, and started to make sense of everything that had been said.

That was a Vermeil trademark--spotting the weak spots and putting everything in order.

When he started winning games in Philadelphia, he discovered that he still had a weakness at quarterback. Ron Jaworski was young and promising but not delivering on his promise.

Vermeil looked around for the answer. He knew exactly where to find it. Sid Gillman, retired Guru of the forward passing game. He was available for a special assignment and Vermeil made him coach of Ron Jaworski!

It was a terrific idea that made the Eagles one of the top teams in the NFL.

Coaching the Vermeil way: I remember the first meeting with my 4-10 Eagles. I interviewed every player. I got rid of the bad people--the drug users, the pushers, the lazy people, the smart alecs--and stayed with the better characters each time we made a cut.

It takes a long time to establish credibility as a football coach, to get to where the players trust you and will listen. I always felt that if we built strength as a coaching staff, it would be that that brought us together.

When I came to Philadelphia, there were seven players living in town during the off-season. By my final season, we had 37 living in town. I'd have full-team dinners out at my house--the players, the coaching staff, the whole organization.

I felt us turning the corner in 1977. We still hadn't had a first-round draft choice, but the guys were getting better as individuals. And I hired outstanding assistant coaches.

We kept getting better as coaches, better as players. I could see it coming. We were playing better in every quarter. We were tough to beat. We took pride in our improvement.
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Title Annotation:HERE BELOW; Dick Vermeil
Author:Masin, Herman L.
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2005
Words:472
Previous Article:Coaches' corner.
Next Article:Time marches on ...
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