Advertisement

Dick Vitale, back in Allen Fieldhouse today, raises funds for pediatric-cancer research every day

Advertisement

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) leans in for a selfie with ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale following his 35-point performance in the Jayhawks' 76-60 win over Syracuse, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) leans in for a selfie with ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale following his 35-point performance in the Jayhawks' 76-60 win over Syracuse, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami. by Nick Krug

How much would you pay for an all-expenses-paid, eight-day trip that included front row-seats for Oklahoma visiting Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse last Monday, then Syracuse at Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, and then back to Allen Fieldhouse today to watch Texas play KU in an 8 p.m. tipoff?

"Can you believe ESPN pays me for this?" Vitale beamed last week after rattling off a schedule that called for him to analyze games featuring a Diaper Dandy trio of Trae Young, Marvin Bagley and Mohamed Bamba, plus seniors Devonte' Graham and Grayson Allen, and a seat in two venues with such rich history.

Vitale, 78, doesn't show any signs of aging, and is always ready to weigh in with opinions, such as:

"My No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Michigan State and Kansas."

"Indiana never should have fired Tom Crean. Two Big Ten titles. Three Sweet 16 appearances. Are you kidding me?"

This from his blog that appears on DickVitaleonline.com: "I believe the Wildcats must be banned from March Madness if all of this is true and the wiretap is pretty amazing proof. (DeAndre) Ayton should be declared ineligible if he took the alleged cash mentioned in FBI report. ... (Sean) Miller has now ruined his coaching career."

Vitale has been calling games for so long — DePaul's 90-77 defeat of Wisconsin, Dec. 5, 1979, was his first — that some might not remember how successful he was during a four-year stint as head coach of University of Detroit, where he posted a 79-29 record.

Vitale coached his final team to a 26-3 record that included a victory at eventual national-champion Marquette, coached by his friend, the late, great Al McGuire. Vitale coached the Titans into the Sweet 16 that year and then spent a year as the school's athletic director. After that, he accepted the Detroit Pistons' coaching offer and was fired 12 games into his second season. Not even a full month later, he found a home in the broadcast booth.

Vitale has used his fame in recent years to raise funds for pediatric-cancer research with his Dick Vitale Gala. The 13th-annual event is scheduled for May 11 in Sarasota. Vitale said it has raised $21 million, including a record $3.1 million last year.

"It's probably the most important thing I do in my life right now, giving back to help kids," Vitale said.

It's an arm of the V Foundation, named after late North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano.

"Every dollar goes to the V Foundation," Vitale said. "We've raised $200 million. My $21 million is strictly for pediatric cancer."

Vitale recently spoke at a funeral of a pediatric-cancer victim he had befriended.

"Toughest speech I ever had to give in my life," Vitale said. "I'm obsessed with this stuff. I have five healthy grandkids and I wouldn’t want them to go through the pain that these kids have gone through. ... Here's the sad part that a lot of people don't know: Four cents out of every dollar raised for cancer goes to pediatrics. Four cents. Mine, every dollar goes to it.”

Visit DickVitaleonline.com for information on how to join Vitale's fight.

Comments

Phil Leister 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Good cause by a good guy. Lots of things are more important than basketball.

Still don't enjoy him on the call.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The good work Vitale does to raise money for pediatric cancer is by far the biggest reason to tolerate his commentaries. While I love the passion he shows for the game, his run on ambling through the games drive me crazy.

Armen Kurdian 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Long time ago i sent him a letter and a couple of photos of him in AFH. A month later i got an autographed copy of Time Out Baby in the mail,

Allan Olson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I knew this man had been broadcasting for a few years. Just didn't realize those years are approaching middle age [40] for many basketball fans. Despite his well worn, repetitive style and banter, Dick says it all with such flair and energy that ya gotta luv him. Think I should throw some bucks in his pot tonight.

Mike Kendall 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Scott---you forgot one--- Dick Vitale>Bill Walton>Dan Dakich.

Hey look---I have seen a Dick Vitale speech in Wichita, KS. His speech was awesome! He is so passionate for this cause, and for that, I can't be critical for what he's trying to accomplish. There are times though, he goes off on a tangent and seems to be biased toward the likes of Carolina and Duke. Dakich is biased for the Big 10. Walton is biased for the Pac 12--"oh, the Pac-12, the Conference of Champions!" Please spare me--excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom and puke. Anyway, I hope Dick has a good call and keep the conversations within the Big 12. Rock Chalk!

Dave Miller 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't mind Dick Vitale so much...guess I'm getting used to it. But someone please, PLEASE keep Bill Walton in CA and send Dan Dakich to Antarctica to call games!!!

Steve Zimmerman 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Dickie's got a big heart. You can tell he's so into what he does, too. Try listening to Kellogg.

Bill Lamson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Like many I'm getting pretty tired of Vitale, due in large part to the fact that like so many others who have done it for so long, he just repeats the same old lines over, and over, and over, and over.... If I have to hear "Are you serious?!" one more time I'm going to puke, or any one of a dozen other things I've heard literally thousands of times from him. Is it that hard to just come up with new lines or at least stop using the old ones??? I agree with everyone else that he's a great guy and does a lot of good things (other than continue to defend Rick Pitino which is insane) but they need to find a new role for him. Though I also completely agree that I'd take him in a heartbeat over Walton...could he be any worse?!? Me thinks not!

David Kelley-Wood 9 months, 2 weeks ago

There are a lot of people who drive me up a wall, but neither Vitale nor Walton bother me in the least. Love Dickie V's passion!

Jerry Walker 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Give me just the pep band, the crowd noise and the PA announcer and I'd be happy as a speckled pup.

No more smarmy broadcasters hosting a talk show while the game is going on...and no more useless sideline reporters.

Jerry Walker 9 months, 2 weeks ago

And about those front row seats.

Baseball has unintentionally gotten it right...the announcers are high up in the row of broadcast booths. Can you image baseball announcers sitting in the front row behind home plate and broadcasting the game by watching their monitors...like they do in basketball?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.