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Dick Vitale agrees to contract extension with ESPN

Dick Vitale, the longtime college basketball announcer who has called games for ESPN since the network's first year in 1979, has agreed to a contract extension through the 2017-18 season.

"I am so proud to be part of the ESPN team," Vitale said in a statement. "They have become my second family and have been a vital part of my life. It has been nothing but pure happiness working with the beautiful people at ESPN and I can't thank them enough as they've been responsible for so many of the glorious days I've had in my life."

With his distinctive, enthusiastic style, Vitale has called more than 1,000 games over the past three decades.

"Dick continues to connect with fans by demonstrating an incredibly successful combination of exuberance for and knowledge of the game he loves," said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president of production and programming. "He is a one-of-a-kind personality, and the passion he brings to everything he is involved with continues to have an enormous impact."

Prior to joining the cable network, Vitale, who turned 76 on Tuesday, enjoyed a successful coaching career, moving up the ladder from the high school ranks to college and eventually to the NBA, where he coached the Detroit Pistons before coming to ESPN.