Page 37 - The Hunt - Summer 2022
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   his great-grandfathers Garibaldi Iaccheri and Jean Louis Vermeil with Vermeil Wines. To celebrate his induction, the winery will produce 60 cases of Vermeil Hall of Fame Cabernet, made from two tons of grapes purchased from top Napa Valley grower Beckstoffer Vineyards.
Vermeil’s love of all things automotive— particularly sprint car and vintage racing— pays tribute to his father, Jean Louis Vermeil II, who’d work in his “Owl Garage” all night. Its sign now hangs on the Chester County barn that houses his dad’s 1926 sprint car, a restored black Miller-Schofield that’s been gifted to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa. “It shapes your thinking,” he says. “My dad taught me that hard work wasn’t a form of punishment, and he was a nut on integrity.”
Vermeil’s blue-collar work ethic fit Philadelphia. It also explained his grueling twice-a-day training camp sessions and hours spent in meeting rooms. “We always said, ‘The man is crazy,’” says fellow Hall of Famer and former Eagles receiver Harold Carmichael.
“I know I was tough—it was deliberate,” says Vermeil.
Integral to Vermeil’s success was the fact that he coached at every level, beginning with a high school. When Bill Bergey arrived in Philadelphia, the linebacker was already a superstar. But that didn’t stop Vermeil from compelling him to play 15 pounds lighter by his second year. Now living in Chadds Ford,
Bergey speaks of the bond formed among members of that 1980 Super Bowl team—one that hasn’t dissipated in 40-plus years. “It has a lot to do with Dick Vermeil,” says Bergey, now 77 with 10 grandchildren. “He wanted everything his way. He was strict. He’d tell us when to drink. We were like, ‘Where the heck did this high school coach come from?’ But it was the only way the guy knew how to do it.”
Vermeil worked the team “to death,” says Bergey. “But we knew he’d work harder than any one of us. He’d stay in the office all night until 3 a.m., get an hour sleep and start again with film.”
and friends have gathered there, including prominent Brandywine Valley figures like Ralph Roberts and H. Gerry Lenfest. “I got
in [foxhunting matriarch Nancy Penn Smith Hannum’s] Jeep a few times,” Vermeil says. “She drove it better than Mario Andretti.”
In 1984, the Vermeils bought 100 acres at $3,500 an acre. “Never in my lifetime did I think I’d own 100 acres of land,” says Vermeil.
Prominent local banker Roger Hillas paved the way with a loan. “Back then, I needed help,” Vermeil says. “In those days, they didn’t pay football coaches.”
The land’s value has appreciated considerably and now includes two additional parcels totaling 13 acres. Not an “idle-time guy,” Vermeil owns four Stihl chainsaws and
a Can-Am off-road vehicle—his “race car
of today.” He still runs the old John Deere tractor that was housewarming gift from former Eagles owner Leonard Tose.
He and Carol often eat dinner out and go antiquing locally. “We fell in love with the country,” he says. continued on page 42
he table in the Vermeils’ great room seats 18. Many players, assistant coaches, colleagues, neighbors 35

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