GARFIELD, N.J. -- Happy birthday to legendary sports broadcaster Dick Vitale, who coached basketball in local schools before moving on to higher-level coaching and broadcasting. He'll turn 78 on Friday, June 9.
Vitale was born in Passaic. Locally, he coached at a Garfield elementary school before moving on to Garfield High School for one season. He then coached at his alma mater, East Rutherford High School, for seven seasons.
He coached college basketball at Rutgers and the University of Detroit, as well, before coaching the Detroit Pistons for one full season and a bit of another. Vitale was hesitant to accept his first broadcasting position -- with the new ESPN -- and viewed it as temporary, until he found another coaching position.
Vitale, of course, has never gone back, and the role change has made his famous. He's called over a thousand games, and he's well-known for his energetic commentary and colorful catchphrases. Listen to a medley of them in the video embedded above.
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