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Sunday, June 19, 2011

This COURT Should Not Be In Session

On December 5th, 2011 St John's will travel to Detroit Mercy to play the Titans. (A college basketball match-up I have been lobbying to see for years).

December 5th will also mark the 32nd anniversary of Dick Vitale being with ESPN and he will be on the national broadcast that night from Detroit.

Dick Vitale is without question a basketball icon, a Hall of Famer. As for TV, he still is the most recognizable college basketball figure in the game today. His enthusiasm for the game is unmatched and he is loved by many, especially the students,  wherever he travels to do games on ESPN.

Is he the best national college basketball analyst? No he is not, Jimmy Dykes of ESPN has moved into that slot, he brings it every game and he knows the game and players,  like none other.(Dan Belluomini is the best of all time, he just never chose a national path). Vitale is still good, he has slipped a little in recent years, it happens. He continues to be a person who greets everyone the same and always has time for the little people, when he goes to game as a spectator he neither seeks attention or wants the attention, he is for real and thus his popularity continues to high with fans, players and coaches. He has earned his respect not only professionally, but as fine human being.

What Dick Vitale has not earned is the fact that on December 5th, Detroit Mercy will honor Vitale by naming its basketball court, Dick Vitale Court at Calihan Hall. Being a prominent national figure in the game does not merit having a basketball court named after you, especially in this case. Detroit Mercy did not think this one out.

Dick Vitale coached at Detroit Mercy from 1973-77. He did a respectable job, winning 78 games and losing 37, not Hall of Fame coaching numbers, but a record most coaches would die for. But since when does winning 78 games at one school, let alone the fact that Vitale's time at Detroit Mercy ended his college coaching career and after short stint with the Detroit Pistons, his ESPN career began. 78 college coaching career wins ...... no way does that merit naming a court after you.

There is no arguing that Dick Vitale is great for college basketball, is a great person and deserves every bit of attention he gets. But naming basketball courts should be reserved for someone who has done something really SPECIAL for that school, not just something special nationally. Longevity at the school should count as well, think about it, it has been 34 years since Vitale coached at Detroit Mercy.

Dick Vitale deserves almost every award he has either gotten or what will happen in the future. But for sure one honor that he does NOT deserve is having a basketball court named after him at a school he had 78 career wins, he only coached at for only four years and has never had much of an association with the school since he left.

Honors, awards, naming of places should be SPECIAL, have lots of meaning and be reserved  specifically for someone who has contributed not only through success, but also YEARS of service to the school, organization or business. In this case Dick Vitale does not fit the criteria and thus on this verdict about Detroit Mercy's COURT, they should plead guilty as charged.

emails to crawscorner@gmail. com


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