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by Ken Schott

Parting Schotts

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ESPN extends Vitale's contract

Dick Vitale will still be a PTPer at ESPN for a few more years.

ESPN and Vitale agreed to a contract extension through the 2014-15 season, the cable network announced Wednesday.

"Simply put, Dick Vitale is college basketball," ESPN executive vice president of production Norby Williamson said in a statement. "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."

Vitale said: "There is nothing greater than walking into an arena and feeling the excitement and energy of a big-time college basketball game. I can't thank ESPN enough for allowing me to be a kid at heart by giving me the opportunity to sit courtside 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 during the 1979-80 season, just after the network's September 1979 launch. He called ESPN’s first-ever major NCAA basketball game, Wisconsin at DePaul on Dec. 5, 1979. He has called more than 1,000 games.

Vitale was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

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