BRISTOL – Dick Vitale has agreed to a contract extension with ESPN that will keep the octogenarian on college basketball broadcasts through the 2021-22 season.
Front Office Sports was the first to report the deal but did not reveal contract terms.
Vitale, 80, was on the microphone during ESPN’s first college basketball telecast in December 1979. Last month, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sports Emmy Awards.
Vitale, known for his enthusiastic calls and his signature phrases — “He’s a diaper dandy!” — told Front Office Sports that he can see himself calling games until he’s 100.
“I’ll be able to tell when the time comes. If I feel like it’s not there, I will just tell them,” Vitale said of retirement. “I would not try to embarrass them, I would not try to embarrass my family and most of all I would not embarrass myself. But I feel as young as ever. I feel like 20, I act about 12. Then reality sets in when I look at the mirror. At my age, it can happen overnight. Bottom line? I feel really great. I don’t feel any different than when I was 45 or 50. I really don’t.”
Vitale, who is active on social media, retweeted a link to the article and added a comment:
“I can’t believe 40 years have passed on @espn / hey it has been a blast doing something I love talking hoops !”