Commentary

Barakat's death a big loss

Updated: June 24, 2010, 3:21 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I was saddened to learn of the passing of my close friend, Fred Barakat, a former ACC associate commissioner and longtime basketball coach.

I coached against Fred the scholastic level, in high school and in college. We were also friends for a long time. Our wives, Lorraine and Florence, were extremely close. I had spoken to Fred a couple of weeks ago, when he returned from a trip to Italy, where he was visiting his daughter.

Fred was a family man, so proud of his children. Every year at the ACC tournament, we would be invited to have dinner with his family, and it was quite a scene. Everyone was smiling and laughing.

Fred was a genuine, caring person. He was a hard worker who loved the sport. He was even given a little work doing color commentary for ESPNU.

I can remember how happy he was when we had a party at my house a few years ago. We were celebrating the ACC tournament being held in Tampa, as well as his future retirement.

He was a very, very special person. The college basketball community has suffered a major loss. My sympathies to Florence and the entire Barakat family.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.