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Vitale agrees to ESPN extension through 2014-15

- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BRISTOL, CONN. (AP) - Dick Vitale's exclamations of "Awesome, baby!" will ring out on ESPN for at least four more seasons.

The network announced Wednesday the irrepressible announcer had agreed to a contract extension through 2014-15.

"There is nothing greater than walking into an arena and feeling the excitement and energy of a big-time college basketball game," Vitale said in a release. "I can't thank ESPN enough for allowing me to be a kid at heart by giving me the opportunity to sit court-side for games I would pay top dollar to see. I'm living a dream. I've been extremely blessed to work with so many beautiful people and to talk about the game I love."

Vitale joined ESPN soon after its September 1979 launch and called its first major NCAA basketball game. The former coach and his trademark phrases have been synonymous with the network ever since.

The Hall of Famer missed more than two months during the 2007-08 season after throat surgery for ulcers on his left vocal cord. He returned with a pared-down schedule, working with a voice coach to put less strain on his vocal cords.

"Simply put, Dick Vitale is college basketball," ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson said. "He embodies all the great characteristics of the sport he loves and has entertained millions with his unmatched passion and knowledge for more than 30 years. Dick's connection with fans of all ages is stronger than it's ever been and we're thrilled he will continue for years to come."

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