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 "this is awesome 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.
|Born||June 9, 1939|
Passaic, New Jersey
|Alma mater||Seton Hall|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1964–1971||East Rutherford HS|
|Head coaching record|
|Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2008
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2008
Vitale was born in 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.
Vitale took his first job as a coach at an elementary school in Garfield, New Jersey in 1958. 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), where he had a record of 131–47 from 1964 to 1971 and led his teams to two New Jersey state championships.
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 Milwaukee, 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).
Vitale married Lorraine McGrath in 1971. The couple have two daughters, Terri and Sherri, and five grandchildren.
|Detroit Titans (NCAA Division I independent) (1973–1977)|
|1976–77||Detroit||26–3||NCAA Division I Sweet 16|
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win–loss %|
|Playoffs||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win–loss %|
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 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". ESPN promoted "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 year.
Vitale is signed with ESPN through the 2020–21 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, ESPN's analysts 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.
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 games.
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 analysts Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis, and Bob Knight. Previously, he has been paired with Keith Jackson, Roger Twibell, and 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 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 honor.
2016 New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee.
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. NBA Jams “Isit the shoes” he's on fire” 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 basketball Coach Jim Valvano. In 1988, Vitale had a cameo appearance as a baseball color commentator, sharing the crowded broadcast booth with Curt Gowdy, Jim Palmer, Dick Enberg, Mel Allen, Tim McCarver and Joyce Brothers in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Vitale currently stars in commercials for DiGiorno pizza, Oberto beef jerky, and 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:
The 1976–77 Detroit Titans men's basketball team represented the University of Detroit in the 1976–77 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The head coach was Dick Vitale. The Titans play their home games at Calihan Hall and were an independent with no conference affiliation.Blue Chips
Blue Chips is a 1994 American basketball drama film, directed by William Friedkin, written by Ron Shelton and starring Nick Nolte as a college coach and real-life basketball stars Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway as talented finds. It features cameos from noted basketball figures Bob Knight, Rick Pitino, Nolan Richardson, Bob Cousy, Larry Bird, Jerry Tarkanian, Matt Painter, Allan Houston, Dick Vitale, Jim Boeheim, Dan Dakich and Bobby Hurley, as well as actor Louis Gossett, Jr.Bookstore Basketball
Bookstore Basketball is an annual outdoor basketball tournament that takes place at the University of Notre Dame. Bookstore Basketball is the largest outdoor five-on-five tournament in the world with over 700 teams participating each year. Since 1995, Bookstore Basketball has devolved its earning to the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Jamaica to raise money for Jumpball, an organization that aims to teach fundamental life-lessons to children of Jamaica through the game of basketball. The tournament’s name, coined by alumnus Jimmy Brogan, comes from the basketball courts behind the old South Quad Bookstore, now location of the Coleman Morse Center.
Games are played to 21 points and early rounds are self-refereed. 512 teams competed for the 1983 edition, and the Guinness Book of World Records deemed it the largest five-on-five outdoor basketball tournament in the world, and today the number of teams has grown past 700. Students, faculty, and staff of the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College can participate Bookstore Basketball. Women compete in the tournament alongside the men, but additionally there is a separate women’s bracket, established in 1978. Notable members of the administration, faculty, and staff have participated with as much gusto as the students, such as Joe Montana. University President at the time, Rev. Edward Malloy fielded the team All the President’s Men.
Bookstore Basketball is famous for the creativity and potential notoriety of team names and costumes. Crazy team names are always an important feature of Bookstore Basketball. Usual themes among the names are puns, innuendos, trash-talk, self-deprecation, celebrities, and current events. Some of the past names included: Hoops I Did It Again, 5 Guys Even Dick Vitale Wouldn’t Watch Play Basketball, We’re Short but Slow, Picked Last in Gym Class, Unlike Tiger Our Rebounds Don’t Text Back, Weapons of Mass Seduction.Brian Alexander (basketball)
Brian LaWan Alexander (born August 26, 1975) is a retired American professional basketball player who played with Salon Vilpas in Finland. He attended and played college basketball at the University of Detroit Mercy. In Alexander's senior year, the Titans were conference regular season champions behind a 12–2 MCC record and earned a berth into the 1998 NCAA Tournament.After upsetting St. John's in the first round, Alexander was asked by a reporter after the win about Dick Vitale and his response was "I didn't even know Dick Vitale coached at Detroit until after I got here," Titans center Brian Alexander said. "Hopefully, he'll talk about us now and wake up some people around the country who didn't know who we were and why we were invited to this tournament." Detroit lost in the round of 32 to a strong Purdue squad, ending their year with an overall record of 25–6. Considered one of the Top 50 Midwestern Collegiate Conference / Horizon League Players from (1994-2012).Calihan Hall
Calihan Hall is a 7,917-seat multi-purpose arena in Detroit, Michigan. It is home to the University of Detroit Mercy Titans basketball team. The arena opened in 1952. The building was dedicated on May 25, 1952 as the Memorial Building. The first basketball game was played on December 2 of that year when the Titans defeated Kalamazoo College, 75–61. In 1977, the name was changed to Calihan Hall in honor of Bob Calihan, the Titans' first basketball All-American who went on to become the school's winningest coach.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) Detroit Pistons played some games in Calihan Hall in the late 1950s.
The Titan Pep Band is featured at all men's and women's home basketball games in Calihan Hall.
Capacity at Calihan Hall was listed at over 10,000 in the 1960s and 70s, and standing-room admissions allowed attendance in excess of that figure; since then, limitations ordered by fire marshals and other safety personnel have reduced capacity to the current figure of 7,917.
Detroit Catholic High School League (CHSL) playoff games are regularly held at Calihan Hall, which has also hosted numerous Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) tournament games.
The University of Michigan hosted the championship game of the 2017 Women's National Invitation Tournament at Calihan Hall due to the unavailability of the Crisler Center, its on-campus home. The Wolverines defeated Georgia Tech 89-79 in three overtimes.
On December 5, 2011, the playing surface was named Dick Vitale Court in honor of longtime ESPN analyst Dick Vitale, who began his head coaching career at the University of Detroit in 1973 and later served as the school's athletic director. The date coincides with the 32nd anniversary of Vitale's first game at ESPN.David Gaines (basketball)
David "Smokey" Gaines (born February 27, 1942) is a retired American professional basketball player and coach. He played three games for the Kentucky Colonels during the 1967-68 American Basketball Association season after a four-year stint with the Harlem Globetrotters. Gaines attended LeMoyne-Owen College.
After his playing days Gaines became a coach, serving as head coach for Detroit Mercy and San Diego State. He replaced Dick Vitale at the former school, and coached Michael Cage and future Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn at the latter. He is currently Athletic Director for the Memphis City Schools.Dick Vitale's "Awesome Baby" College Hoops
Dick Vitale's "Awesome Baby" College Hoops is a Sega Genesis video game based on college basketball featuring basketball coach/announcer Dick Vitale, who provides in-game commentary. Many different colleges from the United States can be chosen. The game features an exhibition mode in addition to a season mode. The game uses 3D-like graphics to make the court seem realistic, though now this gives the game an overall poor presentation. Dozens of voice clips featuring Dick Vitale were used in the game, with said voice clips becoming a main selling point of the game. The game also has an options mode, with a sound-test, and other options. At the time of release the game was met with little fanfare and was left relatively unknown until a YouTube video by Scott the Woz used the game as an important plot point.ESPN College Basketball
ESPN College Basketball is a blanket title used for presentations of college basketball on ESPN and its family of networks. Its coverage focuses primarily on competition in NCAA Division I, holding broadcast rights to games from each major conference, and a number of mid-major conferences.
ESPN was the first broadcaster to provide extensive early-round coverage of NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, prior to CBS, later in partnership with Turner Sports, holding sole rights to "March Madness". The network also covers a number of early-season tournaments, conference championships, and is also the exclusive broadcaster of the National Invitation Tournament and the Women's Division I championship.ESPN College Basketball broadcast teams
The ESPN College Basketball broadcast teams are listed in the table below. These are weekly regular-season pairings for College Basketball on ESPN, including games broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2.ESPN College Basketball on ABC
ESPN College Basketball on ABC (originally College Basketball on ABC) is the branding formerly used for broadcasts of NCAA Division I college basketball games produced by ESPN, and televised on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). ABC broadcast select college basketball games during the 1960s and 1970s, before it began televising them on a regular basis on January 18, 1987 (involving a game between the LSU Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats). As CBS and NBC were also broadcasting college games at the time, this put the sport on all three major broadcast television networks. ABC's final regular college basketball broadcast aired on March 7, 2009 (between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners).John Long (basketball)
John Eddie Long (born August 28, 1956) is an American retired professional basketball player.
After starring at the University of Detroit, the 6' 5" (1.96 m) shooting guard was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 1978 NBA draft. The move was largely influenced by Dick Vitale, who coached Long at UD before going to the Pistons. He played eight seasons for the Pistons, and he averaged a career-high 21.9 points per game in 1981–82. Long was the original backcourt partner to point guard Isiah Thomas before Joe Dumars was drafted.
After Dumars was named the starter, Long later played for the Indiana Pacers, where he was backed up by Reggie Miller before playing for the Atlanta Hawks. After playing overseas and in the minor leagues for several years, Long signed with the Toronto Raptors for one season, and he retired in 1997 with 12,131 career points. At the time, the 41-year-old Long was the second oldest player in the NBA behind Robert Parish, who was 43.
Two of John Long's nephews, Terry Mills and Grant Long, also played in the NBA. The nephews were teammates in Detroit during the 1996-1997 season. All three men played two seasons or more for the Detroit Pistons. He is currently a radio analyst for the Pistons.List of Detroit Pistons head coaches
The Detroit Pistons are an American professional basketball team based in Detroit, Michigan. They play in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team, owned by Tom Gores, plays its home games at Little Caesars Arena. The franchise was founded in 1941 by Fred Zollner as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, playing in the National Basketball League (NBL). In 1948, the team was renamed to the Fort Wayne Pistons and joined the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which merged with the NBL to become the NBA a year later. After spending nine seasons in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Zollner moved the team to Detroit, Michigan in 1957 to be able to compete financially with other big city teams. In the 1980s, general manager Jack McCloskey was instrumental in the Pistons' future championship runs by drafting Isiah Thomas, acquiring key players like Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman and hiring head coach Chuck Daly. The 1980s team, known today as "the Bad Boys" due to the physical playing style, eventually won two championships in the 1989 and 1990 NBA Finals under Daly. The Pistons won their third title in the 2004 NBA Finals under the tenure of Larry Brown.There have been 36 head coaches for the Pistons franchise since joining the NBA. The franchise's first head coach while in the NBA was Carl Bennett, who coached the team for six games, all of which are losses. Chuck Daly is the franchise's all-time leader in regular-season games coached (738), regular-season games won (467), playoff games coached (113), and playoff games won (71); Flip Saunders is the franchise's all-time leader in regular-season winning percentage (.715). Daly and Larry Brown are the only members of the franchise to have been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as coaches; Daly was also selected as one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history. Both Ray Scott and Rick Carlisle have won NBA Coach of the Year in the 1973–74 and 2001–02 season, with the Pistons respectively. Former coach Dick Vitale was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame in honor of the work he did as a basketball broadcaster after leaving the Pistons. Sixteen head coaches have spent their entire NBA head coaching careers with the Pistons. Curly Armstrong, Red Rocha, Dick McGuire, Dave DeBusschere, Donnie Butcher, Terry Dischinger, Earl Lloyd, Scott, and Michael Curry formerly played for the team. The current head coach of the Pistons is Dwane Casey.Norm Hitzges
Norman Richard "Norm" Hitzges (born July 5, 1944) is an author and sports talk radio host at KTCK (1310 AM / 96.7 FM, "SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket") in Dallas, and a Texas Radio Hall of Fame member. Hitzges moved to (former rival) KTCK in early 2000 after 15 years at sister station KLIF when the latter removed sports talk programming from its lineup. Hitzges also serves as the television play-by-play voice of the Dallas Sidekicks.He has also provided major league baseball commentary for ESPN. Hitzges is known for his enthusiasm and knowledge of sports trivia and has been compared to Dick Vitale for his energy and love of sports. Hitzges has been honored by the Dallas All Sports Association and the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.Hitzges also hosts "Norm-A-Thon", a yearly 18-hour marathon broadcast to raise money for the Austin Street Center, a Dallas area homeless shelter. Hitzges has also been a long-time supporter of Texans! Can Academy, an organization that provides at-risk youths with education and training.
Weekly segments on his show include “The Birdhouse,” “Shuttle Run,” “The Meatheads of the Week,” and “The Weekend-around.”
Since 2010, Hitzges and his wife have lived in the Dallas suburb of Little Elm, Texas.Richie Adubato
Richard Adam Adubato (born November 23, 1937) is a former basketball coach in the National Basketball Association. He has served as head coach for three NBA teams, the Detroit Pistons, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Orlando Magic.
Adubato replaced Brian Hill halfway through the 1996-97 season and guided the Magic to a 21-12 record and made their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. The Magic then nearly upset Pat Riley's Miami Heat in the playoffs with the help of spectacular play from Penny Hardaway, but ultimately lost the series 3-2.
In 1999, Adubato became head coach for the New York Liberty of the Women's National Basketball Association, making his WNBA debut on June 10, 1999 when he guided the Liberty to an 87-60 victory over the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Rockers. With the Liberty posting impressive attendance figures for the third straight season, Madison Square Garden played host to the first-ever WNBA All-Star Game - a sellout (18,649) - on July 14, 1999. Four Liberty players were selected to the Eastern Conference squad: Rebecca Lobo, Teresa Weatherspoon, Kym Hampton, and Vickie Johnson.
With Adubato at the helm, the Liberty posted an overall mark of 18-14 and won its first Eastern Conference title. After defeating Charlotte in the first round of the playoffs, the team faced a rematch with the defending WNBA champion Houston Comets. Despite falling short of the title, the series was pushed to a third game when Weatherspoon made the most famous shot in WNBA history -- a half-court, buzzer-beating shot that won Game 2 before a stunned Houston squad and Compaq Center crowd.
Under Adubato, the Liberty went to the finals three out of four seasons and won the Eastern Conference regular-season championship three times.
Adubato took over as coach of the Washington Mystics, but left the Mystics on June 1, 2007, reportedly upset over his team's 0-4 start to the season, a number of recent transactions, and his contract status.
During his NBA coaching career, Adubato replaced Dick Vitale as head coach of the Detroit Pistons after 12 games of the 1979-80 season. He later was head coach of the Dallas Mavericks for 264 games between 1989 and 1992.
Adubato currently serves as the radio color analyst for the Orlando Magic.
Adubato has also been an assistant NBA coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, and Orlando Magic and an NBA scout for the Atlanta Hawks.The 6th Man
The 6th Man, sometimes titled The Sixth Man, is a 1997 American sports comedy film directed by Randall Miller, starring Marlon Wayans and Kadeem Hardison. The film was released in the United States on March 28, 1997. The film features real National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) schools, although the rosters are fictitious. Some schools shown in the film include the University of Washington, University of Massachusetts Amherst, California State University, Fresno (better known as Fresno State), Georgetown University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Arkansas, UCLA, and others. The film features cameos from college basketball personalities such as Jerry Tarkanian and Dick Vitale.
|Detroit||1978–79||82||30||52||.366||4th in Central||—||—||—||—||Missed Playoffs|