There is a great article on former UCLA head coach (and the former Chiefs head coach) Dick Vermeil today in the Daily News. Vermeil coached UCLA only for two seasons, however he left his indelible mark in Westwood. Coach Vermeil compiled a 15-5-3 (.717) record in two seasons as head coach at UCLA ('74-75), including a 9-2-1 record in '75 when Vermeil led the Bruins to their first Pac 8 Championship. That season UCLA made its first Rose Bowl appearance in 10 years and upset #1 ranked Ohio State by a score of 23-10 (more on that below):
Image via KC Chiefs
Vermeil in his second season Westwood took the Bruins to the Rose Bowl and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Grand Daddy, by beating up legendary Woody Hayes's Ohio State Buckeyes. From Dilbeck's story on Vermeil this am:
Considering his fame as the UCLA coach, it's amazing to recall he coached the Bruins for only two seasons.
His last was worth remembering. The Bruins were fairly handled by Ohio State 41-20 at the Coliseum in their fourth game that season, but rebounded to capture the Pac 8 title and earn a 1976 Rose Bowl berth to face & No.1 Ohio State.
These were the Buckeyes of lovable Woody Hayes. If Vermeil was an '80s sensitive kinda guy before it became fashionable, Hayes was the original angry man on the sideline.
Hayes must have neck veins bulging after the first half, when the Buckeyes controlled the ball for all but four of the 24 minutes, yet led the rematch only 3-0.
"My first memory of that game is how well the defense played in the first half," Vermeil said. "Ohio State was a great offensive team with Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, and a lot of (future) No. 1 picks."
In the second half, the No. 11 Bruins simply took control. Quarterback John Sciarra and receiver Wally Henry - who would both later play for Vermeil with the Eagles - hooked up for a pair of touchdowns, Wendell Tyler rushed for 172 yards and UCLA shocked the Buckeyes 23-10.
"It was probably the biggest upset in the history of the Rose Bowl," Vermeil said. "To watch them do that so efficiently as the game went on, I'm very, very appreciative. I'm in debt to those guys."
Why this story in the DN? Do they want to torture us who are living in an era of Karl Dorrell? No Coach Vermeil is in town to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of Bruin's Rose Bowl in over Ohio State. Perhaps some day we will get to taste a victory in the Rose Bowl. Doubt it if it is going to happen under Karl Dorrell.
Anyways ... I never got to watch Coach Vermeil in Westwood. But I did keep track of him in the NFL and always pull for him except when he was taking on my (lowly and pathetic) 49ers.
I have no doubt in my mind that had Coach Vermeil stayed he would have turned out to become one of the legends in Bruin lore. May be some day we will have someone like him roaming the home team sidelines at the Rose Bowl again (yeah I know technically he never roamed the Rose Bowl home team sidelines during the regular season because back then we were sharing with the Trojans that ugly, filthy, urine smelling place in South Central, called the Coliseum).