RICHARD JOHN VITALE (/vaɪˈtæl/ ; born June 9, 1939), also known as
"DICKIE V", is an American basketball sportscaster . A former head
coach in the college and professional ranks, he is well known as a
college basketball broadcaster for
ESPN . He is known for catchphrases
such as "baby" and "diaper dandy" (outstanding freshman player), as
well as enthusiastic and colorful remarks he makes during games, and
has authored nine books and appeared in several movies.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Coaching
* 2.1 High school coaching
* 2.2 College coaching
* 2.3 NBA coaching
* 3 Head coaching record
* 3.1 College
* 3.2 NBA
* 4 Broadcasting
* 4.1 Broadcasting partners
* 5 Recognition
* 6 In popular culture
* 7 Author
* 8 References
* 9 External links
Vitale was born in
Passaic, New Jersey
Passaic, New Jersey and grew up in East
Rutherford, New Jersey . His father, John, was a piece work clothing
press operator and had a second job as a security guard. His mom,
Mae, worked in a factory as a seamstress and sewed coats until she
suffered a stroke. In kindergarten, Vitale lost the vision in his
left eye due to an accident with a pencil. Vitale graduated from East
Rutherford High School , and in 1963, he graduated from Seton Hall
University with a bachelor of science degree in business
administration. He later earned a master's degree in education from
what is now
William Paterson University
William Paterson University .
HIGH SCHOOL COACHING
Vitale took his first job as a coach at an elementary school in
Garfield, New Jersey
Garfield, New Jersey in 1959. Eventually he moved up to the high
school level to become head coach at Garfield High School for one
season, and then at East Rutherford High School (his alma mater ).
In 1971, Vitale moved to
Rutgers University as an assistant coach
under head coach Dick Lloyd. After two seasons there, he was hired in
1973 by the University of Detroit to become its head coach. Vitale
took Detroit to the 32-team NCAA tournament in 1977 . Vitale had a
78–30 record during his tenure at Detroit, which included a 21-game
winning streak during the 1977 season. During that streak the Titans
defeated the eventual champion Marquette on the road in
Wisconsin . Following the 1977 season, his fourth as Detroit head
coach, Vitale was named the university's athletic director .
Vitale coached the
Detroit Pistons of the NBA for the 1978–79
season, leading them to a 30–52 (.366) record. On November 8, 1979,
Pistons owner Bill Davidson came to Vitale's house and told him that
the Pistons were making a coaching change. It was twelve games into
the 1979–80 season, after the Pistons struggled to a 4–8 start.
The primary reason for Vitale's downfall with the Pistons was the
maneuver that brought
Bob McAdoo to Detroit.
M.L. Carr 's decision to
sign with Boston as a free agent in 1979 spawned a transaction in
which the Pistons, entitled to compensation for Carr, demanded Bob
McAdoo, who the Celtics were looking to unload due to injuries. The
Pistons sent two 1980 first-round draft picks (in addition to Carr) to
the Celtics in exchange for McAdoo in a combination free agent
signing/trade. The Pistons would have the worst season in franchise
history in 1979–80, and their pick would become the first overall
pick in the 1980 draft . Boston then traded the two picks to the
Warriors (who selected
Joe Barry Carroll with the #1 pick and Rickey
Brown with the #13 pick) in exchange for
Robert Parish and the #3 pick
(Kevin McHale ).
HEAD COACHING RECORD
DETROIT TITANS (Independent) (1973–1977)
NCAA Sweet Sixteen
National champion Postseason invitational champion
Conference regular season champion Conference regular season and
conference tournament champion
Division regular season champion Division regular season and
conference tournament champion
Conference tournament champion
Playoff win-loss %
4th in Central
Following his departure as coach of the
Detroit Pistons , Scotty
Connal gave Vitale his first TV opportunity at the then fledgling ESPN
cable network. His first reaction to the job of broadcaster was
"Absolutely no way. I know nothing about TV. I want to get back to
where I belong and my spirit belongs." He was reluctant to accept the
position but his wife Lorraine told him to "go on TV and have some
fun", so Vitale accepted on a temporary basis until another coaching
job became available. He called ESPN's first college basketball game
on December 5, 1979, when DePaul defeated
Wisconsin 90–77. His
first play-by-play partner was Joe Boyle.
Vitale was not a natural at first for broadcasting. He missed his
first-ever production meeting when he was walking the streets of
Chicago . Also, he would talk while the producers were talking to him
through his earpiece, during commercials, and while the play-by-play
man was talking. Vitale himself was not sure if broadcasting would fit
him. Connal, who had hired him, told him, "You have a quality we can't
teach." Vitale did not understand this until many people wanted his
autograph at the 1983 Final Four. He credits a lot of his success to
working with Jim Simpson at the beginning of his career.
In 1985, after the
American Broadcasting Company
American Broadcasting Company acquired ESPN,
Vitale also began doing broadcasts on the ABC network.
In 1999, Vitale was featured in a series of thirty-second promo
shorts for "Hoops Malone". The shorts, which aired in heavy rotation
on ESPN, were presented as a sitcom featuring Vitale, George Gervin
and others, including a puppet called "O'Hoolix".
"Hoops" with banners and other marketing premiums, with the idea of
generating buzz about the show, but no actual episodes were ever
produced. Though this led to an offer for Vitale to do an actual
sitcom, he turned down the opportunity.
In December 2002, Vitale called a St. Vincent – St. Mary\'s –Oak
Hill Academy prep game, featuring then high school phenom LeBron James
. He announced the game with
Brad Nessler and NBA great
Bill Walton .
By the 2004–05 season, Vitale was doing approximately 40 games a
Vitale is signed with
ESPN through the 2019-20 college basketball
season. Vitale was recruited to do color in the first two rounds of
the NCAA tournament by CBS but
ESPN would not allow it. However,
Jay Bilas and
Len Elmore were allowed to provide color
for CBS's tournament coverage, teaming with play-by-play announcers
Dick Enberg and Gus Johnson . However, this is slightly misleading as
Elmore continues to call games for both CBS and
ESPN during the
college basketball season; in Bilas' case he was loaned to CBS for the
tournament only in 2003 and from 2005-2010.
In February 2015,
ESPN removed Vitale from covering Duke -UNC
basketball. He had covered every Duke-UNC game televised by
Vitale is a voter on the AP Top 25 men's basketball polls, the annual
Naismith Award and the
John Wooden Award .
Vitale called his first NBA game on television since the 1984 NBA
playoffs, along with
Dan Shulman , on January 7, 2009 when the Miami
Heat played the Denver Nuggets as
ESPN swapped its NBA and NCAA crews.
During ESPN's first incarnation covering the NBA, he regularly covered
As of 2009, Vitale had called close to a thousand games. Vitale, a
color commentator , is primarily paired with play-by-play announcers
Mike Patrick , primarily those in the ACC games; and
Dan Shulman for
Saturday Primetime and other non-ACC games. During the postseason, he
appears as an in-studio analyst with host
Rece Davis and fellow
Jay Bilas ,
Digger Phelps ,
Hubert Davis , and
Bob Knight .
Previously, he has been paired with
Keith Jackson ,
Roger Twibell ,
Brent Musburger for ABC as well as Jim Simpson ,
Tim Brando ,
Mike Tirico , Dave O\'Brien ,
Sean McDonough and
Brad Nessler . He
worked in the studio with
Bob Ley , John Saunders , Tirico, and Chris
Fowler as well as the late
Jim Valvano .
On September 5, 2008 Vitale was inducted into the
Basketball Hall of
Fame as a contributor to the sport, after falling just short of
induction the previous year.
In 2011 the University of Detroit named their basketball court in his
On August 18, 2012, he was inducted into the Little League Museum
Hall of Excellence.
New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee.
Italian American Sports Hall of Fame .
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Vitale lent his name and voice to the 1994
Sega Genesis game, Dick
Vitale\'s "Awesome Baby" College Hoops . Vitale and Nessler also
provide the commentator voices for
EA Sports ' NCAA Basketball
(formerly NCAA March Madness) video game series. In 2004, Vitale
released a descriptive autobiography cowritten with Dick Weiss
entitled Living a Dream. The book has several thoughts and comments on
his days with the Pistons and ESPN, and memories of former NC State
Jim Valvano . In 1988, Vitale had a cameo appearance
as a baseball color commentator, sharing the crowded broadcast booth
Curt Gowdy ,
Jim Palmer ,
Dick Enberg ,
Mel Allen , Tim McCarver
Joyce Brothers in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! .
Vitale currently stars in commercials for
DiGiorno pizza, Oberto beef
Hooters restaurants. He guest starred on The Cosby Show
along with friend
Jim Valvano as furniture movers in the eighth-season
episode The Getaway .
Dick Vitale is also the main spokesperson for
Airborne Athletics Dr. Dish basketball training machine. He also made
an appearance in the movie Love and
Basketball as himself.
Vitale has authored nine books:
* "Dickie V's ABCs and 1-2-3s", Ascend Books (October 2010)
* "Living a Dream: Reflections on 25 Years Sitting in the Best
Seat", Champaign, IL Sports Publishing LLC (January 1, 2003)
* "Dick Vitale's Fabulous 50 Players and Moments in College
Basketball: From the Best Seat in the House During My 30 Years at
ESPN", Ascend Books (October 6, 2008)
* "Time Out Baby!", Berkley (December 1, 1992)
* "Vitale", Simon and Schuster; 1st Edition (1988)
* "Dickie V's Top 40 All-Everything Teams", Masters Press (June
* "Tourney Time: It's Awesome Baby!", Masters Press, (December 1993)
* "Holding Court: Reflections on the Game I Love", Masters Press
* "Campus Chaos: Why the Game I Love is Breaking My Heart", Sideline
Sports Publishing (December 1999)
* "Getting a W in the Game of Life: Using my T.E.A.M. Model to
Motivate, Elevate, and Be Great" (Oct. 2012)
* ^ "
Dick Vitale Biography (1939–)".
* ^ Vitale, Dick (September 6, 2008). "Hall call is simply
* ^ "Pistons Coaching Records". Archived from the original on
* ^ "Vitale\'s first broadcast".
* ^ "Packer vexed at Vitale for doing prep star\'s game". USA
Today. December 4, 2002. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
* ^ "TV/RADIO: Hoops boosts Vitale\'s vitality".
* ^ "
Dick Vitale agrees to contract extension with ESPN". ESPN.com.
Retrieved 9 June 2015.
* ^ "Dick Vitale: \'I will absolutely miss\' ca