Vitale Brings Good News For Irish

Dick Vitale returned to Notre Dame to do a network television broadcast of an Irish hoops game for the first time in several years. He also told IrishEyes he has some good news for Irish fans, though it was given before the Irish succumbed to Syracuse 68-65 on Sunday.

Copyright by Global Electronic Telecommunications, publishers of  IrishEyes.Com®

February 17, 2002

Vitale Bearer
Of  Good News

By Joe Tybor
For The IrishEyes.Com NewsService

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (IE) -- Dick Vitale was back on the Notre Dame campus to do a basketball game for the first time in so many years that he’s unsure when it last was.

“All I know is, it was against UCLA when John MacLeod was the coach,” said the ever-popular Vitale before tip-off on Sunday. That would make his last hoops broadcast here sometime between Feb. 22, 1992 and Dec. 20, 1995.

Before the tip-off, Vitale told IrishEyes that he believes Notre Dame will make the NCAA tournament, one of six Big East teams to qualify. Of course, that was before the Irish went out and blew a seven-point lead before a sellout crowd and lost to Syracuse 68-65.

“Notre Dame will make it unless they have a total collapse,” Vitale said. “They still have to win a couple of games, but they will be in the Big Dance.

“I think six teams will make the tournament from the Big east: Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Miami, Connecticut, Notre Dame and one team among the others scrambling out of the Big East Tournament,” Vitale said.

“But I don’t feel there is a team out of the Big East that’s good enough to cut the nets down,” he continued with IrishEyes. “There are some who will make the Sweet 16, but I don’t think there’s a team from the conference that will win the championship.”

Vitale loves this place. He comes back frequently for home football games, and he is always a popular attraction.

In fact two cheerleaders, the leprechaun and the lead drum major for the marching band ran up to him individually courtside, shaking hands and hugging him. They told him they have been recipients of the Vitale Family Scholarship Fund, and thanked him.

Both of Vitale’s daughters attended Notre Dame on tennis scholarships.  Vitale said they could have gone anywhere for their Masters, but both returned to Notre Dame. Both of them are now married to ND alums and one has made Vitale a beaming grandfather.

“I had to give back.,” Vitale told IrishEyes about the endowment. “Nobody pressured me or anything like that, but this place was so good to my daughters and the Vitale family, I wanted to give something back for their scholarships.

The Vitale endowment gives several thousand dollars to students who participate in a non-revenue generating activity, such as cheerleading or the band.

Vitale will also be the subject of a celebrity roast at the Joyce Center the week before next season’s Michigan football game.

About 40 minutes before, Vitale asked Joe Tybor of  IrishEyes what time tip-off was. When told, and, realizing he had time, Vitale went over to the student section and mixed it up with them and the pep band in grand, celebratory fashion.

Too bad, the game-winning coach he interviewed after the game was not Mike Brey.

(Joe Tybor is the founder of IrishEyes, the first Notre Dame web site.) Top Stories