Dick Vitale

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Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season -- just after the network's September 1979 launch -- following a successful college and pro coaching career.

His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate, sometimes controversial - but never boring - style. In February 2004, Vitale was named a finalist for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor.

Vitale called ESPN's first-ever NCAA basketball game - Wisconsin at DePaul on Dec. 5, 1979 (a 90-77 DePaul win). Since then, he's called close to a thousand games, including NBA contests for ESPN during the 1983 and '84 seasons.

But Vitale's talents and influence extend way, way beyond just game analyst. He provides commentary on a variety of topics in his "Dick Vitale's Fast Break" segment which airs Wednesday evenings during the college basketball season on SportsCenter, and serves as a college basketball analyst for ESPN Radio, including appearing each Monday on the "Mike & Mike in the Morning" show. He has been a college basketball analyst for ABC Sports since 1988, and has also covered the NBA Finals and the 1992 Summer Olympics for ABC Radio. His weekly ESPN.com column is one of the web site's most popular features.

Also, he's a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine, and, of course, has his own web site - www.dickvitaleonline.com

Vitale is also a columnist for Basketball Times, has served as a guest columnist for USA Today since 1991, and has been a featured guest on virtually every sports radio station across the nation. He's also been profiled by a wide array of national magazines, ranging from Sports Illustrated, Sport and The Sporting News to People, Playboy and Travel & Leisure. He received eight CableACE nominations, and captured awards in 1994 and1995.

Vitale coached at the University of Detroit (1973-77), compiling a winning percentage of .722 (78-30), which included a 21-game winning streak during the 1976-77 season when the team participated in the NCAA Tournament. Included in the streak was a victory in Milwaukee over Al McGuire's eventual national champion Marquette team. In April 1977, Vitale was named Athletic Director at Detroit and later that year was named the United Fund's Detroit Man of the Year. In May 1978, he was named head coach of the NBA's Detroit Pistons, which he coached during the 1978-79 season prior to joining ESPN.

Vitale's also authored seven books, the most recent of which - Living a Dream (Reflections on 25 Years Sitting in the Best Seat in the House) -- was released in 2003 and co-authored by Dick Weiss. In 1988, Simon & Schuster published Vitale, an autobiography with Curry Kirkpatrick, which was issued in paperback in 1989. In 1991, Time Out Baby!, his second book was published. The book, written with Weiss, chronicled the 1990-91 season. In 1993 his third book, Tourney Time, was published. In 1994, Dickie V's Top 40, his fourth book, was published. In September 1995, he co-wrote a fifth book, also written with Weiss, called Holding Court: Reflections on the Game I Love. His sixth book, also with Weiss, was released in 1999 ?| Campus Chaos: Why the Game I Love is Breaking My Heart. He also had popular home videos distributed by ESPN Video --Time Out Baby! Dick Vitale's All?]Time College Hoops Superstars and Dick Vitale's Dreamtime, Baby.

Vitale graduated from Seton Hall University with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. He also earned a master's degree in education from William Paterson College and has 32 graduate credits beyond the master's degree in administration.

Recognition for his achievements and contributions to a wide array of areas are quite numerous. He was named Honorary Alumnus by the University of Detroit in 1976, and voted Man of the Year by the Detroit Athletic Club in 1977. In 1978, he was presented with the Greater Detroit Community Award by the Hartford Insurance Company.

In addition, Basketball Times named Vitale one of the sport's Five Most Influential Personalities of 1983, less than four years after entering the TV business. In 1988, he was presented with an Honorary Citizens Award by Father Flanagan of Boystown. In 1989, Vitale was recognized by his peers as the American Sportscasters Association "Sports Personality of the Year," while the NIT Metropolitan Media did the same in 1991.

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