Dick Vitale to miss at least a month following vocal cord surgery
December 18, 2007
NEW YORK (AP) -- Dick Vitale, the voice of college basketball for almost three decades, had vocal cord surgery Tuesday and is expected to be off the air until at least February.
The 68-year-old Vitale said on his Web site that he'll still give his take on college basketball through postings on ESPN.com and dickvitaleonline.com while he recuperates. He expects to return to the air in early February.
The surgery to treat ulcers on his left vocal cord was performed by Dr. Steven Zeitels at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
"College basketball fans will miss Dick's enthusiasm in the coming weeks. But we are delighted to learn his surgery was a success, and we all wish him a speedy recovery," ESPN president George Bodenheimer said.
Vitale had never missed an assignment in his 28-plus seasons at ESPN.
"The past six weeks have been very emotional (for) me and for my family as we've visited some of the most outstanding throat specialists," Vitale said in a letter posted on ESPN.com. "Visiting college campuses and interacting with the fans has kept me so young and energized. I can't wait to get back out there, having a blast with all of you, who are so vital to our game."
Vitale, who coached at the University of Detroit and for less than a season with the NBA's Detroit Pistons
, was a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
Hired at ESPN in 1979, Vitale, his trademark catchphrases and his almost fanatical zeal for the sport have become part of the sports lexicon.
In addition to his broadcasting career, Vitale has become an avid fundraiser and is personally responsible for raising millions of dollars for the V Foundation, a cancer research foundation named for his close friend, Jim Valvano.