If you’re a college basketball fan, you probably feel a certain way about Dick Vitale. But, love him or hate him, it’s impossible to ignore the impact he’s had on the game.
The creator of legendary catchphrases like “PTPer” and “Diaper Dandy” is in the Basketball Hall of Fame for a reason. His excitement and knowledge of the game can’t be questioned. That’s why this graphic from Wednesday’s night game between Duke and Notre Dame that Vitale called was so odd.
Coach K, Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, Gregg Popovich, and Dabo Swinney are who Vitale thinks are the five best coaches in all of sports. It’s not a bad list, especially given that four of the five have won championships since 2015.
But do you know who Vitale left out?
Women’s college basketball coaches.
Earlier in the broadcast, Vitale gave Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer a shoutout as she won her 1,099th game on Tuesday night, making her the winningest head coach in D1 women’s college basketball history, and the second winningest coach across D1 men’s and women’s basketball behind only Coach K, with 1,135.
“It’s just been a great journey,” VanDerveer told ESPN. “I really hope Pat Summitt is looking down and saying, ‘Good job, Tara. Keep it going.’ I loved coaching against Pat, and we miss her.”
“She helped me do it because of playing against her teams,” VanDerveer said about Summitt. “Something that I learned from Pat was just to be passionate about the game. I study other people; I’m a copier. The importance of rebounding, playing really hard — her teams did that. They didn’t give up. They were determined teams.”
VanDerveer’s resume also includes 10 Final Fours, two national championships, four NCAA Coach of the Year awards, and a gold medal from coaching Team USA in the 1996 Olympics.
UConn’s women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma was also oddly absent from Vitale’s list. With 1,093 wins on his record, along with 11 national championships, countless coach of the year awards, and three gold medals of his own, it’s beyond fair to wonder if Vitale values coaches in the women’s sports the same as he does in men’s.
You can’t tell me those two coaches aren’t two of the best in all sports. But, far too often, coaches and players in women’s sports get overlooked. That needs to stop. We all need to do better, and that includes Dick Vitale.