Iconic Broadcaster Dick Vitale Announces He’s Cancer Free After Melanoma Diagnosis Earlier This Year

by Matthew Memrick
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After a recent cancer scare, long-time college sports broadcaster Dick Vitale says he’s “cancer-free” and will be back for his 43rd college basketball season.

The 82-year-old Vitale, who announced he had melanoma earlier this year, told the world Wednesday that he was cancer-free. Vitale said his doctor caught the skin cancer earlier this summer after he celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary in Hawaii.

According to ESPNFrontRow, Vitale had a growth removed from above his noise when the doctors discovered the melanoma. He said he had the first surgery on June 28. Four procedures later, he was on the road to recovery.

“The bottom line is they removed all cancer cells,” Vitale told TMZ. “And I was relieved, big time, to be cancer clear.”

Vitale said he’s still healing from the surgeries. He went on throw a shoutout to the cancer-awareness promoting V Foundation. Vitale, who also has an annual Dick Vitale V Foundation Gala with the group, said the reminders about early detection helped.

 “Because of early detection, something the V Foundation constantly emphasizes, thankfully we were more prepared,” Vitale said. “Luckily, I took care of it when I did, and I can’t stress enough that you all should do the same!”

Vitale said now he can work harder at one future work goal, working through his 90s and beyond.

“That’s how I’m going to achieve my goal of sitting courtside calling a game when I’m 100 years old!” Vitale said. “The ultimate Triple Digit Dandy!” 

Dick Vitale As A Coach

The Passaic, N.J. native and Seton Hall alum started coaching basketball in 1963. After working at Garfield and East Rutherford high schools, he became an assistant at Rutgers.

By 1973, Vitale moved on to head coach of the University of Detroit men’s basketball team. He worked there for four years before joining the Detroit Pistons for a season. He coached the team to a 30-52 record. After a 4-8 start the following season, the Pistons fired Vitale. The team went on to its worst record in franchise history at 16-66.

The announcer moved on to newly-formed ESPN and called the channel’s first college basketball game on Nov. 8, 1979.

Vitale told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2009 that when he first heard about ESPN, he thought the network sounded like a disease. Since then, he said he’s been “having the time of my life.”

In 2008, Vitale became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame. In another strange twist, the University of Detroit named its basketball court after him in 2011.

He’s also acted in movies like “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!” and “Jury Duty” with Pauly Shore. 

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