Say this for Dick Vitale: the guy loves his job. Might all the “Awesome, baby!”s come off as forced, like nothing more than a way for Vitale to maintain the Dickie V brand (either that, or he just says it out of habit at this point)? Sure, but the rabid enthusiasm for college basketball, we’d say, is genuine, and below, we offer (somewhat uncomfortable) proof.
For proof of this, one need look no further than an interview Vitale did today with Mike and Mike. The two were discussing UConn coach Jim Calhoun’s future with the program, in the wake of his third national title. Calhoun turns 69 next month and has had problems with both health and NCAA compliance (he’s set to serve a three-game Big East suspension next year). Some believe, therefore, that he that he should call it a career while he’s on top.
Vitale, though, doesn’t think Calhoun can walk away that easily. In fact, he thinks he’d be “lost” without the game. Vitale’s point of comparison: “It would be like taking the mike from me, man. Once you take that from me, my life is over.” Whoa. And Vitale just got more and more unsettled (particularly between the 35- and 40-second marks below):
First things first: if we had to bet, we’d say Vitale is right about Calhoun: coaches live for competition, and generally have to be dragged away from it kicking and screaming. As nicely and neatly as this title would wrap up Calhoun’s career, we’d guess he’s still got a hunger for more where it came from.
As for Vitale: we have to think Mike Greenberg was surprised that part of his show this morning consisted of him having to reassure a man that no, his career is not almost over. Regardless of what you think of Dickie V…boy, the guy really loves broadcasting, doesn’t he? (Almost as much as March Madness itself.)