Al Vermeil was recognized last Thursday evening, May 10th, as a "Legend in the Field" of Strength and Conditioning by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa). His award was presented by his son, Lance Vermeil, who is also in the strength and conditioning coaching profession. This honor was given in recognition of Vermeil's pioneering efforts on behalf of the field of strength and conditioning.
Vermeil entered the field of strength and conditioning in 1979 when he became the strength and conditioning coach for the San Francisco 49er's. His conditioning program, which incorporated the use of free weights, medicine balls, interval training, and plyometrics, was a contributing factor in the team's winning of the 1982 Super Bowl Championship. Shortly thereafter, he left the 49er's to begin his own physical conditioning business. He began designing and administering fitness programs for police and fire departments. He was soon asked by the Chicago White Sox to assist the team by training individual players and improving their quickness, strength and agility. In 1985, he became the NBA's first strength and conditioning coach when he joined the coaching staff of the Chicago Bulls. He had an immediate and significant impact on the team—greatly improving the fitness level of the players, as well as their performance on the court. The Bulls won numerous NBA Championships during his tenure with the franchise, making him the only strength coach to have World Championship rings from BOTH the NFL and the NBA. He is also the only the strength coach who has been in the NFL, NBA and MLB.
Four individuals were honored as "Legends in the Field" of Strength and Conditioning at the 2007 CSCCa National Conference: Al Vermeil, Al Miller, Meg Ritchie-Stone, and Boyd Epley. These four individuals have had a tremendous impact on the development of the strength and conditioning profession. The profession as it is known today is a direct result of the hard work, dedication, knowledge, and expertise of these legends. They are true pioneers, who blazed a trail through unknown and uncharted territory and helped develop a profession that has become an integral part of successful athletic programs across the country. The pioneering and mentoring efforts of these individuals make them true "Legends in the Field."