On December 5, 1979, world-renowned basketball sportscaster, Richard "Dick" Vitale, called his very first game with ESPN. Just two months ago, he celebrated his 40th anniversary with the company. In a retrospective video posted on ESPN Front Row, Vitale had the opportunity to reminisce on his years spent with ESPN saying that he's spent 40 years "in a profession that has given me an unbelievable life."
Since starting with ESPN in 1979, Vitale has called close to 1,000 games. His vibrant and enthusiastic energy has become a staple and a standard, living on in what many know to be "Vitale-isms" or "V-Speak." Phrases like "Get a TO, Baby!" (call a timeout), "PTP'er" (prime-time player), "Diaper Dandy" (a freshman star), or even "Rolls Roycer" (a flat-out superstar) are just a few from his unparalleled colorful commentary.
The Seton Hall University alum graduated with a degree in Business Administration. He went on to become an elementary school teacher in Garfield, NJ while coaching junior high school football and basketball. He began coaching at the high school level, eventually going back to his alma mater, East Rutherford High School. Vitale later found himself at Rutgers University as an assistant coach before moving over to the University of Detroit where he compiled a winning streak of .722 (78-30) and was named Athletic Director and the United Detroit Man of the Year in '77.
Not only has Vitale made a profound impact in sports, but he has made an impact in the world with his philanthropic efforts. He serves on the board of directors for The V Foundation. Founded by ESPN in 1993 and created in honor of Jim Valvano, The V Foundation is a non-profit organization that has worked to raise millions in the search to find a cure for cancer. He is also involved heavily with the Boys and Girls Club in Sarasota, FL and has awarded annual scholarships to them for many years. Vitale is also on the advisory boards for the Harlem Globetrotters and the Henry Iba Citizen Awards.
For his selfless dedication and service, Seton Hall presented Vitale with the Many Are One Humanitarian Award in 2014. The University is proud to acknowledge a fellow Pirate who has made such significant strides not just in their career, but also in the lives of others. Cheers to 40 years, Dick Vitale!