Pitt's Dick Groat Concludes Career As Radio Analyst After 40 Years
Pitt's loss last night to Syracuse in the ACC Tournament marked the end of Dick Groat's 40-year career as radio analyst for the men's basketball team, as the 88-year-old "will not be returning to the role next season," according to Craig Meyer of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. Groat said that he "wasn't informed of the decision by the athletic department until 'a week or two ago' over a lunch." Groat and play-by-play partner Bill Hillgrove are the "longest-tenured radio tandem" in D-I basketball. Entering this season, Groat was the "second-longest tenured Division I radio analyst," while Hillgrove, in his 50th season, is "second among play-by-play announcers," trailing only Duquesne's Ray Goss at 51 seasons. Groat's workload "has been reduced recently," as he stopped traveling to road games last season (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/14). Groat said of the move, "It hurts. It's a tremendous disappointment. Basketball has always been my first love." In Pittsburgh, Jerry DiPaola noted despite those feelings, Groat "handled the news with dignity and respect." Groat: "That's life. You have to live with what goes on." Pitt AD Heather Lyke indicated that the school "hopes to honor Groat's years of service at a game next season" (TRIBLIVE.com, 3/13).
BITE THE CANDLE: ESPN's Dave Pasch and Bill Walton are calling games this week from the Pac-12 Tournament, and in Phoenix, Katherine Fitzgerald wrote it is hard to talk about Pasch "without talking" about Walton. Fans have seen some "ludicrous back-and forth" between Pasch and Walton over the last few years. Pasch will "make note of tangential things like the actual score or who's even on the court or what decade we're living in," while Walton "goes forth with anecdotes about ancient Chinese culture and the Grateful Dead and tiny chairs and Sir Isaac Newton and Barack Obama and the history of Western Civilization." The tandem have "become a meme on Twitter," as it has become "increasingly difficult to tell which ones are verbatim Walton quotes and which are playfully imagined" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/13).