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At 78, Vitale Re-ups With ESPN

The legendary broadcaster isn’t done just yet.

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NCAA Basketball: Kansas at West Virginia
Jan 24, 2017; Morgantown, WV, USA; ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale celebrates with West Virginia Mountaineers cheerleaders after they beat the Kansas Jayhawks at WVU Coliseum. 
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

When ESPN wiped out most of its college basketball talent recently we wondered why Dick Vitale survived.

He’s an institution of course, but he’s also in his 70s and his career has slowed down. Plus he’s bound to still cost a fair amount.

All things considered, we thought they might gold watch him and send him on his way.

They didn’t of course and now Vitale has signed an extension which will keep him at ESPN until he’s 80.

He’s one of the last of the old-timers there: Vitale was on the crew of the very first ESPN basketball broadcast.

It’s hard to keep working until you’re 80 and even harder to stay relevant to a much younger audience.

Well, Vitale has done that. When he started at ESPN he wasn’t sure it was a good fit, but ESPN’s Scotty Connal told him “you have a quality we can't teach."

That’s been true too. He’s annoying, he prattles on, he wanders way off topic, and he’s a Hall of Fame broadcaster. He’s a PTPer baby!

By the way if you ever come across a very early career clip of Vitale it’s worth watching. We saw one a while back. He’s trying so hard to be a standard issue broadcaster before his irrepressible nature came out. The guy could never be anything but what he is.

That, along with his ability to relate to young people, is the key to Vitale’s long and remarkable career.

We can make fun of him while we have him but we’re going to miss this guy when he finally does retire. He’s been a treasure.

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