Dick Vermeil was just 27 years old when he took over as head football coach at Napa Valley College in 1964.
He recruited from all over Northern California, going to places like Ukiah and Red Bluff, Vacaville and Benicia. He was doing all that he could to promote the school, the program and get players to come to Napa.
I just think I was so young and passionate about what I was doing and so enthusiastic, Vermeil said Tuesday. Enough of them came that we ended up having a good football team. We had a lot of really good kids. We had a lot of fun with them. I have great memories.
Napa Valley lost just one game in the Golden Valley Conference that year, falling to Santa Rosa.
Vermeils work here served as springboard to a very successful head coaching career. The Calistoga native won a Rose Bowl at UCLA and a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams.
There were a lot of great people at Napa College when I was there, Vermeil said from his home in Pennsylvania. They were all so good to me, that it was a very, very positive experience.
Napa Valley College will honor Vermeil and six others, as they will be inducted into the schools Athletic Hall of Fame on Sept. 15 at a dinner and ceremony at the Napa Valley Marriott.
A social hour will start at 5:30 with the dinner at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are now being accepted.
Im appreciative and Im honored, said Vermeil. I respect what theyre doing, to add to the traditions of the college programs.
The second annual Hall of Fame class was selected by a committee. Each of the inductees will receive a medal.
Also entering the HOF:
The late Mary Georgiana Georgie Lyon, one of the pioneers of the physical education and athletic programs at NVC.
Robert Maglione, head softball coach at NVC from 1980-1995.
Ken Tronstad, the colleges outstanding athlete in 1954.
Howard Jamison, mens tennis coach from 1974-1980 and a driving force in developing tennis in the Napa Valley.
Stephen Dodd, NVC football standout in 1974-75.
Dennis Fechter, outstanding three-sport athlete from 1976-78.
I am thrilled with the 2012 class of inductees, said Kevin Luckey, NVCs dean of physical education and athletics, who established the HOF last year.
We appreciate all the nominations received. Dick Vermeil was selected last year but could not attend. We are happy that he will be able to be inducted this year as part of an outstanding group.
The Hall of Fame recognizes a tradition of excellence at Napa Valley College. This year we are also celebrating the colleges 70th anniversary and the colleges history as we look to serve future generations of students.
A college and community committee worked on the sell-out dinner and very successful first induction ceremony last year.
A similar group is planning the event this year, with Ira C. Smith of KVON 1440 AM radio scheduled to be master of ceremonies.
After graduating from Calistoga High School, Vermeil played two years of football as quarterback at NVC.
Stellar NFL coaching career
He began his NFL career as the special teams coach for the Los Angeles Rams. He got Philadelphia to its first Super Bowl in 1980 and led St. Louis to a Super Bowl victory in 2000. He has a 120-109 record, a .524 winning percentage. He also won three divisional titles. He was twice honored as the NFLs Coach of the Year.
Vermeil led UCLA to a Rose Bowl victory after the 1975 season. He is also a former Kansas City Chiefs coach.
He was the head coach at Hillsdale High School-San Mateo for three years and was an assistant for a year at the College of San Mateo before landing the NVC job.
Vermeil, 75, was assisted by Bob Covey that one season here.
He was an outstanding man, outstanding person, outstanding friend, and a very fine coach, he said of Covey. We did all of it. We had a lot of fun working together.
Vermeil has supported the NVC Foundation for many years, and he has returned to his wine country roots with Vermeil Wines.
He spends five to six weeks each year in the Napa Valley.
Every time I come to the Napa Valley I know Im home. I just get a different feeling about myself. I have so many great memories of growing up in Calistoga.
Lyon was one of the pioneers of the physical education and athletic program at NVC, working at the school from 1944 to 1978.
In the early years of the college there were no womens athletic teams. She was an advisor to the Womens Athletic Association, which provided competitive athletic opportunities for Napa College women against other community colleges.
She helped to plan the P.E. and athletic facilities when the campus was moved to its current location. Her teaching, advising, coaching, and leadership were instrumental in paving the way for women to have the opportunities that they have at NVC today. She was honored in the Chico State Athletic Hall of Fame. She passed away in 2010.
You can almost trace the history of Title IX through her career, said Luckey. By the time she was finished, through efforts of women like her, womens sports were beginning to form. That made it possible for what is happening today.
Maglione winningest coach all-time in state
Maglione ran a very successful softball program. The winningest coach in the history of California community college softball got his start at NVC, and was inducted into the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame on May 17.
At Napa Valley, Maglione compiled a 456-224 record and turned the Storm into a top-10 program in the state. He was the Bay Valley Conference Coach of the Year six times and was named as the state coach of the year in 1988.
He won six Bay Valley titles and led the Storm to the state finals twice.
His overall community college coaching record is 1,177-381, a .755 winning percentage.
Maglione retired as Sacramento City Colleges head coach following the 2011 season. Between Napa Valley and Sac City, he won 21 conference championships and made the playoffs 24 times.
The Panthers won the state title under Maglione in 2004 with a 44-2 record.
Im very pleased that Im recognized by the institution that gave me the chance to start coaching, Maglione said Tuesday from his home in American Canyon. To come home and be recognized by Napa Valley, its very humbling to have that happen to you. I was blessed with a great run of kids from the beginning, all the way through.
Tronstad (1953-1954) was named NVCs outstanding athlete in 1954. He was the second-highest scorer on the basketball team and was a tremendous rebounder. He was a record-setting discus thrower on the track team and participated in multiple events.
Jamison (1961-1963, 1974-1980) played two years of competitive tennis at NVC.
He went on to play at Sacramento State. He was the mens tennis coach from 1974-1980.
He has been a driving force in developing tennis in the Napa Valley. He has been a nationally-ranked age group tennis player throughout his adult life.
Dodd (1974-1975) transferred to NVC from Santa Clara University. He played football for head coach Bob Steen. He was an offensive lineman and linebacker and was named All Golden Valley Conference. He received a scholarship to the University of Richmond and started at linebacker for the Southern Conference champion Spiders.
Fechter (1976-1978) was a three-sport athlete at NVC.
He was an outstanding quarterback on the football team, and he received a full ride scholarship to the University of Montana.
He was a second team all-conference baseball player, and he was a starter on the basketball team and was awarded the teams defensive player of the year and most inspirational award.
Reservations for the dinner can be made through the NVC Foundation office at 256-7170.
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