LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Make it 12 hall of fames for Dick Vitale.
Lakewood Ranch's most famous citizen and nationally heralded ESPN basketball analyst received another honor when he was recently selected for the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.
Vitale will be formally inducted on the weekend of June 8 at the 54th annual NSSA Awards in Salisbury, N.C. He will join author and Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom, who is the Hall's sports writer inductee.
"I am in awe. I can't believe this. It's a major, major event and I am very proud of it," Vitale said. "It's the highest honor you could possibly get in broadcasting and to go in with Mitch Albom is fantastic. I can't tell you how blessed I've been in my life and career."
After coaching college and high school, Vitale joined ESPN in December of 1979 and through the years has become a college basketball broadcasting icon. He did the network's first televised college basketball game -- DePaul vs. Wisconsin -- shortly after his hire.
"None of this would be possible without my support system and that support has come from all the kids on the college campuses who have allowed me to work a job where I can still be a kid myself," Vitale said. "I've been lucky to work with a fantastic team at ESPN that includes announcers, reporters, and researchers led by my guru Howie Schwab, the producers and all the behind-the-scenes people."
NSAA members in each state nominate up to three people for state and national awards from mid-October through mid-November. The top two appear on the final ballot and the last voting is conducted in December.