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SPORTS WEEKEND | TV-RADIO

Vermeil Decides Against a TV Career

May 19, 2000|LARRY STEWART

Winning a Super Bowl, you would think, would have opened a lot of broadcasting doors for Dick Vermeil. Especially since he had spent 14 years with CBS and ABC.

But Vermeil, who retired from coaching not long after the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl, didn't get the offer he wanted and has decided to pass on broadcasting. This week he turned down an offer from ABC to be a college football commentator.

"I just decided I wasn't interested in going back to college football," Vermeil said. "What I was interested in was 'Monday Night Football.' "

Join the club, Dick.

"They weren't interested in me for that job, and that's fine," he said. "I'm sure they know what they're doing."

We'll see.

Meanwhile, Vermeil, 63, who lives on a 110-acre ranch 45 miles outside Philadelphia, has gone into the venture capital business with his son, Dick, 40, specifically as the co-chairman of a project to raise money to benefit minorities and women in the high-tech field.

He's also spending time on tour for Marc Reede's Nationwide Speakers Bureau of Beverly Hills. He's part of the Winning Way 2000 Success Seminar that is being jointly--and heavily--promoted by Nationwide and KXTA (1150). It will be held Tuesday at Staples Center, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Other speakers include Muhammad Ali, Bill Walton, John Wooden, Terry Bradshaw, Oscar De La Hoya, Jerry West and Tom Lasorda. Jim Rome is the host.

WHAT'S UP WITH RUSH?

So who will ABC put in its "Monday Night Football" booth with Al Michaels? It's a secret that has been as well kept as was George Clooney's appearance on last week's "ER."

Hot rumor this week is that Rush Limbaugh, who has been campaigning for a spot, was given an audition.

Said ABC spokesman Mark Mandel, "As we at ABC have said from the beginning, when we first announced there have been changes in the booth, we have nothing to say on this topic and will not have anything to say about it until we make a formal announcement."

BOXING BEAT

Forum Boxing, which for years has provided Channel 9 with Saturday night rating winners, is alive and well, although owner Jerry Buss has sold out to his promoter, John Jackson. Channel 9's first show under the new regime will be Saturday night, 8-10:30. Heading a Caesars Tahoe card is John Manual Marquez, who is 30-2, although many in boxing believe he should be at least 31-1 after a highly controversial loss to Freddie Norwood in November in Las Vegas. Marquez fights Colombian Roque Cassiani (18-6-1).

"In a sport where integrity is sometimes called into question, Jackson and Forum Boxing have shown nothing but integrity over the years," said Pat McClenahan, head of Channel 9 sports.

The Channel 9 shows look good because they are produced by Susan Stratton, the longtime executive producer of the station's Laker telecasts.

Saturday night is a big one for boxing. Showtime offers a card at 10 p.m. and HBO another at 11.

On Friday at 6 p.m., ESPN2, as part of its regular series, offers something different--a live card from Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion. Appropriately, Mia St. John, the undefeated woman boxer who appeared on the cover of last November's Playboy magazine, is on the Top Rank-promoted card, squaring off against Franchesa Alcantar. The headline bout has Vissiliy Jirov (24-0) fighting Esteban Pizzarro (21-2-1).

A CLASSIC WEEKEND

ESPN Classic has a two-day marathon featuring great moments in L.A. sports history, beginning Saturday at 9 a.m. with Game 7 of the 1965 World Series, when Sandy Koufax pitched the Dodgers to a victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Other events: USC's victory over Ohio State in the 1980 Rose Bowl, UCLA's victory over Missouri in the 1995 NCAA basketball tournament, Wayne Gretzky breaking Gordie Howe's NHL scoring record, and, of course, Game 1 of the 1988 Series--the Kirk Gibson home run--and the 1990 USC-UCLA football game. There will also be Ram and Raider Yearbook shows and "Up Close" classics with Roy Firestone interviewing John Wooden, Don Drysdale and Tom Lasorda.

SHORT WAVES

Vin Scully, a 1949 graduate of Fordham, will deliver the commencement address Saturday at his alma mater, which will give him an honorary doctorate in humane letters. . . . Bob Costas' baseball book, "Fair Ball," has moved to sixth on the New York Times' best-seller list. . . . . . . UPN, Channel 13 in Los Angeles, has made it official that it will televise 10 regular-season XFL games and one playoff game on Sunday nights beginning in February.

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