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#TBT: Coaching Coach Vitale

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Editor’s note: Welcome to another edition of Front Row’s #TBT: Throwback Thursday.

Earlier this week, we celebrated ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale’s start of his 35th season with the network. The slide show above depicts Vitale with some of his many courtside partners.

In his book “Vitale,” he credited former ESPN play-by-play announcer Jim Simpson with being a mentor for his transition from basketball coaching to television. In a 1993 “Omaha (Neb.) World Herald” article, Simpson recalled a particularly effective coaching moment.

“He would get on the air and go,” Simpson said, “and override the announcer and everything else.”

At a pregame meal, Vitale asked what would happen if he talked too much. Simpson replied, “I’ll have your microphone cut.”

During the game, Vitale rambled. During a commercial break, Simpson asked the producer to mute Vitale’s mic.

Vitale’s eyes “got big as saucers,” Simpson said. “And I said to Dick, ‘Are you ready now to listen to what I say and react to what I say and put in your comments when I’m not saying something?” He said, ‘You got that right,’ and away we went.”

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