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Expected to die, today he’s inspiring others to truly live.

World-renowned inspirational speaker + national bestselling author John O’Leary wants to help you wake up from accidental living so you can do, be, achieve and impact more through your life.

Join John twice a week!

  • Every Monday, John shares a quick burst of inspiration to help start your week on fire.
  • Every Thursday, John interviews an amazing guest on their story, successes, failures, lessons, and life to help you uncover tips to apply in yours.

Find the Live Inspired Podcast here:

Mar 26, 2020

My friends, the coronavirus pandemic is affecting each of in some way. I urge you, Live Inspired community, to keep you + your loved ones happy + healthy. I want today's episode to be that reprieve, instill some sense of normalcy and provide positivity + hope in this uncertain time.

Dick Vitale became a legendary voice in college basketball through his charisma, drive, and passion. As one of the pioneers of ESPN, Dick has been inducted to 14 Hall of Fames, is recognized for his trademark vernacular and exuberates an unrivaled enthusiasm that truly sets him apart.

Today, Dick shares the challenges he's had to overcome, his focus and attention on his family, and his passion for advocating for cancer research through The V Foundation. 

This conversation reminded me and will remind you, that we are called to be a champion.


  • Dick's parents were uneducated factory workers that worked hard and gave him love, direction and guidance.
    • "Richie, don't ever believe in can't. You can be what you want to be."
    • "Richie, be good to people and they will be good to you."
  • As a young child, Dick faced ridicule from his peers because he lost an eye. His mom helped him see his worth.
  • Dick started chasing his dream of being a college coach by coaching junior high.
  • What is it that allows a failing team to become one that is successful? The leader has to set the tone. 
  • "I want to be everybody's friend. I look for the good in people."
  • Disco Dick: A highlight of Dick's career is coaching at University of Detriot and in 1977 defeating eventual NCAA champion Marquette during a 21-game winning streak. To celebrate, Dick danced at center court.
  • "My personality, intensity and emotion did not belong in the NBA."
  • Weeks after being fired from his job as head coach of NBA's Detroit Pistons, Dick was hired to call ESPN's first college basketball game. He's still calling games 41 years later.
  • "I have pride in myself. I work harder now than I ever did."
  • Dick is proud to serve on the board of Jim Valvano's V Foundation for Cancer Research and its contribution of over $230 million for cancer research.
  • Watch Jim Valvano's iconic ESPY speech here.
  • "I'm obsessed with raising money for kids battling cancer" 
  • "I'm so blessed. If it ends today, it's been a ride that's exceeded any dream I ever had."
  • "The only place you'll find success ahead of work is in the dictionary."
  • To learn more and donate, visit The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
  • Get a copy of Dick Vitale's latest book Mount Rushmore of College Basketball here. Proceeds go to The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

If you enjoyed hearing from a legendary sports figure, you'll love our Sports + Athlete playlist! Hear from NASCAR's Kenny Wallace, professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, Olympic medalist Scott Hamilton and so many more. Listen to our Sports + Athlete playlist.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? I like reading sports biographies. I really liked Vince Lombardi's story. He didn't start coaching until he was 40!

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? Passion and pride in everything I did.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? A picture of me with my parents as a little boy. It's in my room and I kiss it every morning.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Pope Francis.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Chase your dreams + goals and never ever believe in "can't".

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? You can be what you want to be! Have a goal.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? He was everyone's friend. He cared about people. Had an incredible thirst for life filled with energy, enthusiasm and passion.

To help combat fear, isolation and other uncertainty around coronavirus, I created a 21-day challenge to inspire our community to focus on what they can control and to remain ferociously optimistic that their best remains ahead. Sign up for the IN AWE 21-Day Challenge here.


Pre-order your copy of IN AWE today to receive access to fun, interactive bonus features emailed to you in the lead-up to the book’s release! Visit 


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