#RespectYourElders: Dick Vitale (born 1939) is an American sportscaster and basketball legend. He is known for his fiery presence on ESPN and his influence on college basketball’s popularity.
Vitale’s impressive career began quite modestly as an elementary school basketball coach. After a decade of working his way through the ranks, Vitale became an assistant coach for the University of Detroit. Just two seasons later, he was promoted to head coach, where the team achieved a 21-game winning streak. Following the team’s winning record, Vitale went on to become the school’s athletic director for a year before moving on to coach the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.
Vitale’s coaching career was only the beginning. He experienced incredible success as college basketball commentator at ESPN, including calling the very first college basketball game on ESPN. He has called over a thousand games and hosts his own show, “Dick Vitale’s Fast Break.”
His work with ESPN transformed him into a pop culture icon. He is known for his outlandish vocabulary, referred to widely as “V-Speak.” Some of his famous isms include “diaper dandy,” “Mr. Pac Man” and “Doughnut offense.” His other terms and definitions are included on ESPN’s website. He has also been featured in a variety of sports movies including “Hoop Dreams,” “Love & Basketball” and “He Got Game.” He usually plays himself.
According to ESPN, Vitale said, “I’m living the American dream…they told me that if you [give] 110 percent all the time, a lot of beautiful things will happen.”
And happen they did. Vitale was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. To learn more about Dick Vitale’s amazing career, take a look at his biography.