by Dick Vitale
Illustrated by Craig Lueck
Dick Vitale college basketball’s top analyst and ambassador, has been an integral part of the ESPN television network since 1979. Vitale called ESPN’s first-ever NCAA basketball game – Wisconsin at DePaul on Dec. 5, 1979. Since then, he’s called close to a thousand games for ESPN. Before he became involved in broadcasting, he was a head coach at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. The always-energetic Vitale is a favorite endorser among a wide array of major corporations. He’s also one of the nation’s most requested public speakers, providing motivational speeches to numerous leading corporations and organizations across the U.S. Vitale is on the Board of Directors of The V Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. The foundation, established in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, has raised millions of dollars for pediatric cancer research. He’s also a member of advisory boards for the Harlem Globetrotters and the Henry Iba Citizen Awards. Plus, he participates on selection committees for both the Naismith and Wooden Awards and is a member of the Associated Press voting panel for the Top 25. In addition, Basketball Times named Vitale one of the sport’s Five Most Influential Personalities. He was presented with an Honorary Citizens Award by Father Flanagan of Boystown.
In 2002, the Florida Association of Community Corrections presented Vitale with their President’s Humanitarian Award for his work with young people. In 2003, Vitale was honored with the first-ever Ethics and Sportsmanship in Sports Media Award given by the Institute for International Sport, as well as the National Pathfinder Award, co-presented by the Indiana Sports Corporation and Indiana Black Expo to individuals who have demonstrated a dedicated commitment to improving the lives of America’s youth.
Dick was enshrined as a member of the Class of 2008 in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as a contributor. He was also selected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri. All told he’s been selected for nine halls of fame.