Dick Vitale, Dave O'Brian. Reinhold Matay The Associated Press. For years, Dick Vitale made a joke out of his bad left eye, the one he couldn't see out of because of an accident when he was a small child. He lost the vision in the eye after it was poked by a pencil. So when the ESPN basketball analyst wanted to make a point about something that had happened in a game, he would say something along the lines of 'Hey, I've only got one good eye and I can see that! But for many years, Vitale's eye was not a joke. It was a subject of great pain from his childhood years all the way to adulthood and the hurt nearly saw him walk away from his broadcast career. It was a mess. His lack of vision in one eye didn't hold young Richie, which was what his mother always called him, back. Vitale played all sports — even baseball.
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Dick Vitale, who has been analyzing college basketball games for ESPN since , nearly gave up on his broadcasting career before it got off the ground. Vitale recently released a book entitled "It's Awesome, Baby," in which he details stories from his life around basketball, including how he nearly quit his gig at ESPN during his first few weeks on the job. A viewer had called ESPN, a new station at the time, to complain about Vitale's eye condition, which Vitale had dealt with since an accident as a child. It made Vitale's left eye seem as if it were wandering, and he had been bullied because of it during his childhood. I called up my boss and I said, 'I'm out of here. I don't belong in TV. Vitale, who will call the game between Notre Dame and Duke on Wednesday, said all of the proceeds from his book will benefit pediatric cancer research through the V Foundation.
A former head coach in the college and professional ranks, he is well known as a college basketball broadcaster for ESPN. He is known for catchphrases such as "this is awesome baby" and "diaper dandy" outstanding freshman player , as well as enthusiastic and colorful remarks he makes during games, and has authored nine books and appeared in several movies. His father, John, was a piece work clothing press operator and had a second job as a security guard. Vitale graduated from East Rutherford High School , and in , he graduated from Seton Hall University with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. He later earned a master's degree in education from what is now William Paterson University. Vitale took his first job as a coach at an elementary school in Garfield, New Jersey in Eventually he moved up to the high school level to become head coach at Garfield High School for one season, and then at East Rutherford High School his alma mater , where he had a record of —47 from to and led his teams to two New Jersey state championships.
By Andrew Marchand. The Little League parents would make year-old Richie Vitale cry. Vitale not only was blind in his left eye, it wandered. On the mound, it looked as if he was gazing closer to first than home. The details of the incident that would so greatly affect his life are hazy.