OCEAN SHORES — The sixth annual Grays Harbor Youth Football Camp and Fundraiser will convene on July 15-16 and the festivities will have its usual assortment of Super Bowl-winning and former National Football League players throughout the weekend.
However, this year after the golf tournament at Ocean Shores Golf Course and before the annual youth football camp at Olympic Stadium, the fundraiser dinner will welcome two-time Super Bowl head coach Dick Vermeil to the Grays Harbor area.
Vermeil’s coaching lineage is exceptional in the National Football League and the collegiate ranks, starting with his time with the Philadelphia Eagles (including a Super Bowl XV berth against Oakland in 1981), the St. Louis Rams (including a Super Bowl XXXIV victory over the Tennessee Titans) in 2000 and the Kansas City Chiefs. In all three cases, Vermeil took losing franchises and turned them into winners by the time he left.
Collegiately, Vermeil played at San Jose State, coached high school and junior college football in the San Francisco Bay Area (he is a native of Calistoga, Calif.) before working through the collegiate and professional assistant coaching ranks before his successful two-year run at UCLA in 1974-75. The Bruins won the Rose Bowl over Ohio State in 1975.
With the Rams, Vermeil helped mold quarterback Kurt Warner into a championship thrower as the team’s offense led the NFL in scoring and passing touchdowns in the 1999 season. Previously with the Eagles, quarterback Ron Jaworski had his best career season in the team’s Super Bowl run — 3,529 yards, 27 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 91.0 — with Vermeil.
Off the field, Vermeil returned to his hometown of Calistoga, Calif., to run Vermeil Wines, his own branded and award-winning winery in the Napa Valley.
There is a small “seven-degree” separation between Vermeil and the Grays Harbor area. Vermeil’s father, Louis, was a renowned sprint car driver who ran shows throughout California and the West Coast and built up Calistoga Speedway, a half-mile clay oval on the Napa Valley Fairgrounds, as a driver and a race promoter. Louis Vermeil was named to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1995.
Fred Brownfield, who built up Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma as a promoter, was named to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2010.
Vermeil will be joined by Dana DeLuc, who was strength and conditioning coach for Vermeil in St. Louis, at the golf and dinner fundraisers. DeLuc, who owns a NCAA track &field championship in shot put in 1976 at the University of Texas and worked as a strength and conditioning coach collegiately (Texas and Miami) and in the National Football League (Seattle and St. Louis), also volunteers for the Hoquiam High School football program as well.
Also appearing during the weekend are former NFL players Charlie McShane (Dallas/Seattle/New York Giants) and Howard Mudd (Indianapolis/Philadelphia), as well as other former professional and collegiate coaches. Local coaches, like new Hoquiam High School head coach Jeremy McMillian, will also participate in the camp, as well as former Twin Harbor football players.
The fundraiser golf tournament at Ocean Shores Golf Course starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The fundraiser dinner at the Quinault Beach Resort &Casino at 6 p.m. Saturday. The cost is $95 for golf and dinner and $30 for dinner only. All of the proceeds will go toward the Grays Harbor Youth Football Camp.
On Sunday, the football camp will kick off at 11 a.m. at Olympic Stadium for all players 11-18 years old. The football guest coaches will join local coaches in conducting the camp.
For more information and for tickets, visit the fundraiser website at www.smore.com/gkhtq
All Or Nothing
Speaking of the St. Louis Rams, which are now the Los Angeles Rams, the franchise is the eight-episode feature in the second season of “All Or Nothing” on Amazon Prime right now.
Last year, the Arizona Cardinals were featured by the series, which allows you to see the preparations, plus the drama and the highs/lows, of life in the National Football League. This year, the Rams were given the same treatment as the Cardinals and provided plenty of drama.
Starting with the 2016 Draft and the franchise’s announcement to leave St. Louis to return to its original home in Los Angeles, the Rams were stocked full of stories and drama. Two of the main storylines were the debates and the process of a starting quarterback — first, Case Keenum, then the 2016 overall first pick, Jared Goff — and the trials of head coach Jeff Fisher.
One of the best episodes out of the eight-part run came toward the end of the season with the lead up and the execution of firing Fisher as head coach. The drama was thick and compelling, with the entire team feeling the guilt of letting Fisher and his coaches down to result in the firing.
In contrast to the slow-moving “Hard Knocks” series on HBO on the Los Angeles Rams, which featured the team during the preseason, the eight-part Amazon series on the 2016 season was compelling television. Even if you are a passive follower of the National Football League, you knew this was a bad year for the Rams. The series tells the stories within the training and coaching rooms at the Rams’ temporary facility at California Lutheran University and tells them well.
In other words, it is worth the binge-watch time during the summer and should be a good precursor to the 2017 season coming up. By the way, HBO’s “Hard Knocks” will feature the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, beginning on August 8.
Rob Burns: (360) 537-3926; email@example.com; Twitter: @RobRVR