Lakewood Ranch's Dick Vitale to join National Association of Basketball Coaches' Court of Honor w/video

Special to the HeraldFebruary 27, 2014 

Late last week, Dick Vitale was yelling, and it wasn't just about the Duke-North Carolina basketball game.

Vitale, the voice of college basketball at ESPN and a Lakewood Ranch resident, was expected about the prospect of receiving the fifth annual Hall of Honor Award given by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Foundation President and Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski will present the award to Vitale on June 25th in New York City.

"It will be a special night; my family will be there," Vitale said. "It's such an honor."

The Court of Honor Award is presented to an individual who has roots in college basketball, values those roots and has gone on to distinguish himself in his profession, exhibiting the highest standards of leadership.

Vitale was hired in 1973 by the University of Detroit to become its head coach. He took Detroit to the 32-team NCAA Tournament in 1977 and finished with a 78-30 record during his tenure.

Over the past eight years, the annual Dick Vitale Gala has raised more than $10 million for pediatric cancer research with the V Foundation.

Past recipients for the honor are former Sen. Bill Bradley, a Princeton standout; Nike CEO Phil Knight; Chairman of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo; and CBS Emmy winner Jim Nantz.

Vitale also will be honored with two other awards this year, the Humanitarian of the Year Award established in 1957 by his alma mater, Seton Hall University, and the Vincent T. Lombardi Memorial Award.

Vitale graduated from Seton Hall in 1963 with a bachelor of science degree in business

administration.

"It's great, receiving an honor like that from your alma mater. It's just awesome!" Vitale said. The Vince T. Lombardi Qward is given out by UNICO, the largest Italian-American service organization in the USA.

"I have great admiration for him as a coach, disciplinarian and winner," Vitale said of Lombardi, the late Packers coach.

Former New York Yankee manager Joe Torre, University of Connecticut woman's head coach Geno Auriemma and retired NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde all have been presented with the honor.

Vitale's contributions have gone far beyond the basketball court. He is looking to change the world.

"Until I take my last breath, my goal is going to be raise as much money as I can for pediatric cancer research," Vitale said.

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