Former college and NFL coaching great Dick Vermeil will deliver the keynote address at the 2014 Biletnikoff Award Banquet, called by 2013 keynoter Larry Csonka and other observers “the best banquet in college sports.”
The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation is the creator and sponsor of the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to college football’s outstanding receiver, as selected by its distinguished 222 member national selection committee.
In addition, U.S. Representative Steve Southerland of Florida’s 2nd Congressional District will deliver the banquet invocation. Southerland has been a major supporter of the Foundation’s scholarship program for North Florida high school seniors to attend college or trade school.
Dick Vermeil was an outstanding head coach of UCLA, the Philadelphia Eagles, the St. Louis Rams, and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was Pac 12 Coach of the Year in 1975, the same season his Bruins defeated undefeated, top ranked Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. In that 1975 season, he coached UCLA to its first conference championship in ten years.
As Eagles coach, Vermeil was selected NFL Coach of the Year in 1978 (Associated Press) and 1979 (Sporting News); he led the 1979 Eagles to Super Bowl XV, where they lost to the Oakland Raiders. Just a year earlier, in 1978, the Eagles had made the playoffs for the first time in 18 years.
Retiring after the 1982 season, Vermeil returned to coaching in 1997 as head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Like the Eagles, and the Kansas City Chiefs subsequently, the Rams had suffered a losing record the year before Vermeil arrived. By the 1999 season, the Rams finished 13-3, one of the greatest single-year turnarounds in NFL history. Later that season, Vermeil led the Rams to victory in Super Bowl XXXIV and was a consensus selection as 1999 NFL Coach of the Year. He retired after the Rams’ Super Bowl triumph.
Vermeil returned to the NFL in 2001 as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Within two years, in 2002, he had led the losing Chiefs to an 8-8 record. In 2003, reflecting the coaching magic he had always brought to a team, the Chief finished 13-3 and won the AFC West, with Vermeil being named NFL Coach of the Year (Maxwell) for an impressive 3rd time. That season Sporting News selected Vermeil as Sportsman of the Year. In 2005, he concluded his coaching career by leading the Chiefs to a 10-6 record.
Chairman Ritchie Pickron of the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation reflected the sentiment of Foundation trustees and patrons: “It is a great day for us to have the remarkable coach and great American Dick Vermeil as our 2014 banquet keynote speaker.”
In 2001, Coach Vermeil received the coveted Silver Beaver Award for his steadfast and significant support of Boy Scouts of America.
Born in Calistoga, Napa Valley, California, Vermeil partnered with OnTheEdge Winery to produce his own wine, named “Garage Cabernet”, in honor of his father,
Jean Louis Vermeil.
The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation will celebrate its 20th annual banquet on February 8, 2014, with its usual sell-out crowd of 550 patrons at the University Center Club in the south end zone of Florida State University’s Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. The 2014 banquet will see a record $850,000 in college and trade school scholarships and aid awarded to North Florida high school seniors who have overcome significant barriers to achieve at the highest academic and extra curricular levels.
The 2014 banquet, like the 2013 banquet, will be broadcast by ESPN3. Chairman Ritchie Pickron and Dick Vermeil will present the Biletnikoff Award trophy, the most beautiful in college sports, and the custom designed Biletnikoff Award ring to the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner Brandin Cooks of Oregon State University. The trio will be joined by Oregon State coach Mike Riley.
The Biletnikoff Award winner is selected by a 222 person national selection committee comprised of the nation’s outstanding college football writers, analysts, and commentators, as well as former eminent receivers and Biletnikoff Award winners.
The Foundation has achieved remarkable success over its twenty years of existence with all uncompensated volunteers as trustees and leaders. The Foundation boasts North Florida’s leading business and professional achievers as trustees. The Foundation has attracted the finest banquet keynote speakers in American sports, including Vermeil, Larry Csonka, Bart Starr, Archie Manning, Don Shula, Mike Ditka, Steve Largent, Jerry Kramer, Bill Curry, Dan Fouts, and Ron Jaworski.
Fans can follow the Biletnikoff Award at its fact-filled web site: www.biletnikoffaward.com.
The banquet, considered the best in college football, can be viewed at this link WatchESPN. ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, giving fans a destination that delivers thousands of live sports events annually, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members. It is available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection or video connection from an affiliated service provider. ESPN3 is currently available in 83 million homes. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.