Sept. 17, 2015 NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Longtime ESPN college basketball analyst and 2008 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Dick Vitale and his wife, Lorraine, of Lakewood Ranch, Florida, have made a $1 million gift to the University of Notre Dame to provide financial assistance to deserving undergraduate students who have demonstrated need.
“My wife and I have been very, very blessed by the fact that our daughters went to Notre Dame. Both Terri and Sherri are ‘Double Domers’ and we developed such a love for the University,” said Vitale. “My family and I are very proud that we’re able to give a gift to Notre Dame that can be utilized to benefit young people pursuing their dreams and goals. To be able to enhance their education is very special to us, especially to support those who participate in non-scholarship athletic activities.”
The Dick Vitale Family Spirit Scholarship is a need-based fund with preference given to undergraduate students who are involved in Notre Dame spirit groups. Recipients have included members of the Notre Dame Marching Band, Irish Guard, Irish Dance Team and cheerleading squad, as well as the Notre Dame leprechaun.
“Going back to when Terri and Sherri were student-athletes on our women’s tennis team, Dick and Lorraine have long been loyal supporters of the University of Notre Dame,” said Jack Swarbrick, University Vice President and Director of Athletics. “Of course, Dick is a legend in the world of college sports. We are grateful to he and Lorraine both for their continued generosity, and in particular, their support of the young men and women in our athletic spirit groups, which play such an important role in the successes of our teams and student-athletes, at home, on the road, and in postseason competition.”
“Our athletic spirit groups are at the heart of student life at the University, and there are few individuals who capture the passion and contagious energy for Notre Dame quite like Dick Vitale,” said Lou Nanni, Vice President for University Relations. “He, Lorraine and their family are wonderful ambassadors for this University, and we are deeply grateful for all that they do, not only for Notre Dame, but for others. Their tireless efforts with The V Foundation for Cancer Research continue to inspire and instill hope for a cure. Notre Dame is blessed by the leadership and example of the Vitale family.”
With more than 35 years in broadcasting, Vitale has received numerous prestigious awards and accolades during his lifetime. There are few, however, he is more proud of than that which he received from the University of Notre Dame.
“I was honored in 1997 to be recognized as an honorary alumnus by the Notre Dame Alumni Association,” Vitale said. “That is very special in the list of achievements in my life. I’m also very proud that both my daughters and two sons-in-law can proudly say that they were part of one of the great universities in our nation.”
Dick and Lorraine are the parents of two Notre Dame graduates, Terri (’94 & ’95) and Sherri (’96 & ’98). The Vitale sisters earned monograms as members of the women’s tennis team and both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University.
Born in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Vitale graduated from Seton Hall University in 1963 and earned a master’s degree in education from William Paterson University. He coached at the University of Detroit from 1973-77, and was named head coach of the Detroit Pistons in May 1978. Vitale has called games for ESPN since its inception in 1979, and was part of the network’s first-ever NCAA basketball broadcast on Dec. 5, 1979.