Dick Vermeil

Legendary football coach and Calistoga native Dick Vermeil poses with a golden football commemorating his two Super Bowl appearances on Feb. 1, 2016 in the main gym at Calistoga High.

Dave Mosher photo

Dick Vermeil, a Calistoga native, and Terry Donahue will serve as head coaches for the 2018 Polynesian Bowl, the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced.

The Polynesian Bowl is Saturday, Jan. 20 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Oahu, Hawaii. A majority of players in the all-star game will be of Polynesian ancestry, according to the event’s website, www.polynesianbowl.com.

Vermeil is a Calistoga High School graduate. He was the first coach to win a Rose Bowl (UCLA in 1976) and a Super Bowl (St. Louis Rams, 1999 season). He was NFL Coach of the Year in 1979, when he led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl, and again in 1999.

Vermeil is a San Jose State graduate and is a former Napa Valley College head coach. He is in the NVC Athletic Hall of Fame.

He began his coaching career at San Jose’s Del Mar High School in 1959 and continued up the coaching ladder to a spot on John Ralston’s Stanford staff in the mid-‘60s and on to UCLA and the Los Angeles Rams before becoming the UCLA head coach in 1974.

After two successful seasons at UCLA, he became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and guided the team to four consecutive playoff appearances between 1978 and 1981. He retired after the 1982 season and spent the next 15 years working as a college and pro football television analyst.

Vermeil came out of retirement in 1997 to take over a struggling St. Louis Rams team and took them to the championship in his third season.

Following the Super Bowl victory, he retired again, only to return after a year’s absence with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he coached for the next four seasons.

His numerous honors include enshrinement in the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame. His name is in the Ring of Honor at Spartan Stadium in San Jose.

The Walter Camp Football Foundation honored him with its Distinguished American award in 2006.

Vermeil played football at Napa Valley College and San Jose State. He stands among the NFL’s all-time coaching elite. Combined with a 6-5 (.545) career postseason record that included a perfect 3-0 mark during the Rams’ Super Bowl victory, Vermeil’s final overall NFL head coaching record is 126-114.

Donahue was UCLA’s head coach from 1976-1995. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000 as a coach.

“We welcome legendary coaches Dick Vermeil and Terry Donahue to the 2018 Polynesian Bowl,” Jesse Sapolu, the co-founder and chairman of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, said in a press release. “Our players will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from two of the greatest football coaches in history.”

Richardson is State Coach of the Year

Folsom High School’s Kris Richardson, who directed the Bulldogs to a 16-0 record and the CIF Division 1-AA state bowl title, has been named as the 2017 Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year.

It’s the second time in the last four years that Folsom has gone 16-0.

The Bulldogs beat Helix-La Mesa in the state finals, 49-42, last month.

“We knew we had explosive skill players, but the key as to how well we were going to do depended on how well our offensive line played and how well our defense played,” Richardson told CalHiSports.com. “We kept getting better and better, kept improving and by the end we were a great football team.”

Folsom won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title, the Bulldogs’ sixth SJS crown since 2010.

The State Coach of the Year list includes Wayne Schneider of Tracy (1982), Mike Alberghini of Grant-Sacramento (2008), Mike Papadopoulos of Vacaville (2011) and Ernie Cooper of Granite Bay (2012).

Additional 2017 State Coaches of the Year are Josh Henderson of Grace Brethren-Simi Valley, the Medium Schools State Coach of the Year, and David Griffiths of Big Bear-Big Bear Lake, the Small Schools State Coach of the Year.

Sweeney steps down as Foothill coach

Matt Sweeney stepped down on Tuesday after 31 years as the head coach at Foothill-Pleasanton.

Named as the Prep2Prep.com North Coast Section Coach of the Year following the 2015 season, Sweeney is third all-time for wins in the NCS with 265 victories.

“This was a difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family,” Sweeney told Prep2Prep.com.

Sweeney led Foothill to NCS titles in 1993, 1994, 1999 and 2000. He also directed the Falcons to 15 East Bay Athletic League championships.

He will continue as the Falcons’ head softball coach.

Woodson headed to Hall of Fame

Charles Woodson, a two-time First Team All-America defensive back for the University of Michigan and the 1997 Heisman Trophy winner, was named to the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.

Woodson was the two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection.

He played 18 years in the NFL after being selected fourth overall in the 1998 NFL Draft. He played for the Oakland Raiders (1998-2005, 2013-15) and the Green Bay Packers (2006-12). His NFL honors include being named as the 1998 Defensive Rookie of the Year and the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year. He is a nine-time Pro Bowler.

Woodson, who retired from the NFL at the conclusion of the 2015 season as a safety, is an NFL analyst for ESPN.

Woodson has a business in Napa, Charles Woodson Wines. Charles Woodson Wines has its vineyards in Calistoga, east of the Silverado Trail.

The 2018 College Football Hall of Fame class will be inducted at the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4, 2018, at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City.


Executive Sports Editor

Executive Sports Editor Marty James has been with the Napa Valley Register since 1979. He is a member of the Associated Press Sports Editors, California Prep Sportswriters Association, and the California Golf Writers Association. He was inducted into the