Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game as Duke men’s basketball coach didn’t go as many would have predicted. North Carolina ruined the festivities by trouncing the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 94-81. Duke’s performance was so bad that Coach K felt the need to apologize to the fans, calling the effort “unacceptable.”
Though the result of that home game surely stings, it has no effect on Krzyzewski’s legacy as a college basketball icon. On Friday’s The Dan Patrick Show, Patrick noted the impact that Coach K has had on the sport and drew an intriguing parallel with another figure whose status is iconic in the sport, ESPN commentator Dick Vitale.
“Coach K started in 1980. His first win was against Stetson,” said Patrick. “But Dick Vitale started in 1979. And Dickie V would always talk about Duke, he loved the Dukies, everything about Duke. He was nicknamed ‘Dukie V’ at one point.
“But I thought about that, with Coach K ending his career and I don’t know if Dick Vitale will be able to call another game. I hope he’s just healthy enough to be able to watch basketball. He’s going through a lot now; he’s going through cancer treatment. But just the timing of this; we’re getting ready for March Madness. This is when Dickie V is at his best. It takes a lot out of him because he puts a lot into it.
“And I just thought about that, Coach K and Dickie V coming into college basketball really at the same time,” Patrick continued. “When college basketball was peaking, Dick Vitale was, then Duke. Duke became a brand, like Notre Dame and the Lakers and the Yankees, late-80s, early 90s. Then we started getting tired of hearing about Duke because ESPN put Duke on every single night. Dickie V loved Mike Krzyzewski.”
As Patrick points out, the careers of Krzyzewski and Vitale have run nearly the same length of time, along the same period. As Coach K nears retirement, Vitale nears what could be the end of his broadcasting career.
In Sunday’s Boston Globe, Chad Finn wrote about communicating with Vitale via text message because his doctors have told him he cannot speak for four weeks as he recovers from cancer treatment and vocal cord surgery. Imagine that: During March Madness, Dickie V — whom many consider the voice of college basketball — can’t speak. Amusingly, however, Finn confirms that Vitale texts just as he speaks, complete with some of his signature phrases.
At 82, perhaps Vitale won’t be able to continue broadcasting. The hope is that he can still watch college basketball for many more years to come. Maybe his path can continue running alongside Krzyzewski’s and the two can sit together and watch a game — maybe even a Duke-North Carolina clash — sometime in the near-future.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
Mike Milbury: Jack Edwards Is ‘Awkward’ and ‘A Different Breed’
“Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Boston Bruins television play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards has come under fire for recent comments he made about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon and his weight. In turn, Maroon donated money in Edwards’ name to a mental health organization. On The Greg Hill Show Thursday, former NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury both slammed and defended Edwards.
“Jack Edwards. Who’s Jack Edwards? He went through all of junior high school being picked on and bullied,” Milbury said. “Now he’s trying to get even. Wouldn’t you want to smack that guy, Wiggy? Skinny, scrawny, mouthy son of a bitch.”
“Jack is screaming at the TV all the time,” he continued. “I gotta turn it down half the time.”
When asked by Courtney Cox if it was appropriate for Edwards to make comments about Maroon’s weight, noting that the comments were “awkward”, Milbury said Edwards is a divisive presence.
“Jack is awkward. I think half of Boston hates him and half of Boston loves him. He certainly loves the Bruins and is passionate about it but he’s a different breed of cat. Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Milbury was “cancelled” after saying NHL players in the league’s playoff “bubble” weren’t being distracted by their wives and girlfriends being present. He was dropped by the NHL on NBC after the comments and has not resurfaced on a major network.
The comments and questions to Milbury came after Cox and co-host Jermaine Wiggins disagreed about whether Edwards’ comments were warranted.
Wiggins said he “thought hockey players were supposed to be tough”, adding “he’s got a few extra LBs. It’s a joke.”
Cox countered by saying “it’s not a joke. No one should be talking about it. Jack Edwards went on for like five minutes about it. It wasn’t funny.”
Hill said when Wiggins was in the NFL, nobody cared what television broadcasters said about them. Cox argued by saying “in your day, nobody talked to a therapist, either”.
Jeremy White: Ryan Fitzpatrick Will Be Shirtless On Amazon Prime Video Tonight
“They start the broadcast, and Fitz is seated at the table, shirtless.”
Thursday Night Football will feature the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots. Last year during the dead of winter, Amazon Prime Video analyst Ryan Fitzpatrick — then just a retired player — was seen in the Buffalo crowd shirtless. WGR morning host Jeremy White believes you’ll see that scene recreated during tonight’s broadcast.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they have Fitz on there talking about his experience in that game, being there shirtless,” White said. “Fitz is on the studio panel with Richard Sherman, Tony Gonzalez, and Andrew Whitworth. Best broadcast in the league. If you haven’t had the chance to see an Amazon Prime game, you get it on channel 7 tonight. I think it is the best broadcast in the league and it’s because the players are fresh out of the league. It’s not constant conversations about how you gotta be careful on fourth down and run the ball.”
“No one on there is afraid to say anything,” Joe DiBiase said, filling in for Howard Simon. “Al Michaels doesn’t feel afraid to say anything, by the way. He criticizes the game almost every week. He might be like ‘Oh thank god, the Bills. Just get me away from the Commanders and the Bears. I’m sick of 13-10.’ The happiest person might be Al Michaels.”
White later said he received a text asking what the odds were that Fitz would be shirtless on the studio set. “They start the broadcast, and Fitz is seated at the table, shirtless,” White said, adding if Adam Schefter was seen shirtless earlier this season during a pregame show then it’s almost a certainty Fitzpatrick will do the same.
Evan Roberts: Boomer Esiason Was Taking Shot at Craig Carton With FS1 Dig
“He said they only put the stuff no one cares about on FS1. And he did it with his Boomer smile where I knew what he was mentioning.”
WFAN afternoon host Evan Roberts was listening to the station’s morning show, Boomer & Gio, and heard what he believed was a slight towards his current co-host Craig Carton Wednesday from Boomer Esiason.
“I heard Boomer this morning taking some shots at you. I did not like it,” Roberts said. “Did not like it. Big shots at my partner. He made a comment about how FOX puts stuff that no one cares about on FS1. And he meant that directly at you.”
“First off, he wouldn’t say that,” replied Carton.
“He said it. I listened. He said they only put the stuff no one cares about on FS1,” Roberts reiterated. “And he did it with his Boomer smile where I knew what he was mentioning. He wasn’t talking about anything other than his old, dear friend Craig. What a cheap shot.”
Carton, who hosts The Carton Show each weekday morning on FS1, said no one must have been listening to Boomer’s attack because he didn’t get any tweets or emails about it.
“Boomer’s probably listening — because he does listen to us — and he’s probably smiling saying ‘Evan’s right!’,” Roberts said before laughing out loud.
“If he did say it — next time — I’ll just ask a favor,” Carton asked of Esiason. “Reminder your listeners that I am on FS1 from 7:00-9:30 AM, but only until 9:00 AM this week because of World Cup soccer. If you’re gonna take a shot, it allows me to promote it. And I don’t promote it here.”
A caller later told Carton & Roberts the exact moment, down to the minute, of when Esiason made the quip about FS1. Producers then pulled up the clip, which they played on the air.
After hearing the clip, Carton joked FOX puts they stuff they don’t care about on FS2 before asking “Now I gotta figure out, do I respond or not? Or do I just let it go?” before concluding that he’s more mature than making a response.