HughE Dillon: Buddy Ryan Honored

Mike Ditka and Dick Vermeil at event to honor the former Eagles coach

It seemed like Buddy Ryan‘s Homecoming Week in Philadelphia as the former Philadelphia Eagles coach was feted at the Linc Monday night, and then last night, he was the honoree at the Otho Davis Scholarship Foundation Dinner held at the Sheraton Society Hill. (Otho Davis was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1973 and served as head athletic trainer for the club until his retirement after the 1995 season. He was named Athletic Trainer of the Year five times. In the late ’90s, Davis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In 1999, he created a program that awards scholarships to deserving students in an undergraduate, graduate or medical school program. Another great Philadelphia Eagles coach, Dick Vermeil (left), attended. Later in the evening, Vermeil told guests that the longer you’re out of the coaching business, the more people describe you as a great coach.

Below: Terry Hoage—who played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986 to 1990 (the Buddy Years), and now runs the Terry Hoage Vineyards and produces Rhone varietal wines in California—with Jim Solano, NFL player agent, and Rich Haverstick.

Below: Jo and John Selvaggio, and former Philadelphia Eagles player Harold Carmichael and his wife. Carmichael is in the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame and still lives in the area.

Below: Brothers Bill and Jack Jackson, with Mike Quick. Quick played his entire career with the Philadelphia Eagles, from 1982 to 1990.

Below: Award-winning sportscaster Howard Eskin first made the transition to television in 1982. It’s said that Eskin saved the Philadelphia Eagles because he broke the story that owner Leonard Tose was planning to take the franchise to another city. The outcry saved the team from leaving.

Below: Danny Smedile, who’s going to be 90 this month, gets an autograph from great Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka. Together, Coach Ditka and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan took the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl in 1985, despite their disgust for each other. The feud started when Buddy Ryan thought he should have been named coach of the Bears, but the team owner picked Ditka with the caveat that he had to keep Ryan on the coaching team. After the Super Bowl win, Ryan took the coaching position at the Philadelphia Eagles. Ditka and Ryan’s feud continued in the press. Unfortunately every time the two teams met on the field, the Chicago Bears would dominate. One of the most famous games was the New Year’s Eve “fog game,” when, in the middle of the playoff game, fog rolled onto the field. The Eagles lost to the Bears at that game too, and when Ryan met with the media he gave credit to the Bears’ defense—but not their coaching. After that move the two never spoke to each other again until 2009, except for a hello. puts their conflict as #3 on the Top 10 NFL Feuds of all time. Last night Ditka was on the dais, sitting just one seat away from Ryan paying tribute to him. It was a great moment in sports history.

Below: Jolie Karp, Alex Steenberg, Megan Calamaro, and Nicolette Sifontis enjoy the evening.

Below: Keith Jackson, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1988 to 1991, with Mike Barnes, vice-president, business development at Kisses for Kyle Foundation.

Below: The voice of the Eagles, Merrill Reese, announces Buddy’s team—including Keith Byars, Gary Cobb, Gerry Feehery, Mike Pitts, Clyde Simmons and others—to guests.

Below: Former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mike Riechenbach, who now coaches high school football at Calvary Christian where his son is quarterback.

Below: The Holman Group—Bill Kwelty, Brendon Renouf, Bill Abate, Tom Murphy, Anne Williams, Bill Carvios, and Mary Ann Bryszewski.

Below: The recipient of the 13th Annual Otho Davis Scholarship Award is Jonathan Herting, who is going to graduate school at Widener University; he owns his own gym, and does countless volunteer activities. From left to right, Michael Barkann, Comcast Sports, Harold Carmichael, Rich Burg, Stan Wielgus, Jonathan Herting, Marie Solano, Dick Vermil, and Buddy Ryan. It was a great night, very nostalgic for me too, as my dad was a great Buddy Ryan fan and a friend of the coach. The Ryans lived down the street from my parents in Cherry Hill; he and dad went fishing a couple times.