Former NFL coach Dick Vermeil will replace sportswriter Rick Reilly in the upcoming Distinguished Speakers Series talk, Student Programming Association officials confirmed Thursday.
Reilly canceled his April 8 appearance to cover Tiger Woods at the 2010 Masters Tournament.
"We looked for a comparable speaker to fit the same niche, which is sports," Distinguished Speaker Series Chairman Mike Perone said.
Vermeil will speak April 20 at Eisenhower Auditorium.
Free student tickets will be available April 6, and free general public tickets will be available April 13 if not completely distributed earlier.
Vermeil is known for his experiences coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, but it's his sensitivity that is recognized by Bob Lemon (junior-broadcast journalism).
"He's a different kind of coach. I feel like he cares about the players more than other coaches, and he always wears his heart on his sleeve," Lemon said, citing Vermeil's emotional press conference after resigning as coach of the Eagles in 1982.
Vermeil brought the St. Louis Rams their first Super Bowl victory in 2000 and was the first head coach to bring the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl.
Ryan Serviolo (junior-psychology) thinks of Vermeil as a "highly regarded" coach and would love to hear him speak.
"The fact that he was a coach for the Eagles is pretty attractive to me, because I'm a big Eagles fan," Serviolo said. "He's one of the nicer coaches in football. You could tell he really cared about his players."
He added it's refreshing to see someone who is able to be an "actual human being and a football coach at the same time."
Jason Aversano (junior-telecommunications) said there's a trust between Vermeil and his players.
"The players -- they cry with the coach, they laugh with the coach, so he's not as much of a boss as he is part of the family," he said.
Perone said people who decide to attend Vermeil's appearance can expect to learn about leadership. Leadership skills can be found in many different forms, he said, and Vermeil just happens to have gained his experience through football.
Mike Tombasco (sophomore-finance and business) said he would enjoy seeing Vermeil speak.
"This is a guy who has reached the highest level of the sport by winning the Super Bowl," he said.