There’s a Doctor in the House: “Doc” Emrick Receives Vin Scully Award from WFUV Radio

With the legendary Voice of the Dodgers declaring “welcome to the club!” in a video message from Los Angeles, Mike “Doc” Emrick, the Voice of the NHL on NBC, was honored as the eighth recipient of the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting presented by WFUV Radio (90.7 FM) on November 2 in New York City.

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The ceremonies were held at “On the Record: a celebration of achievement in news and sports broadcasting in a packed Costantino Room at Fordham University’s School of Law.

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Mike Emrick, the Emmy-award winning play-by-play announcer for NBC and NBCSN, and former voice of the New Jersey Devils for 21 seasons, received the award named after the Hall of Fame broadcaster, play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and alumnus of WFUV and Fordham (1949).

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Charlie Rose, anchor and executive editor of Charlie Rose, the nightly PBS program, and co-anchor of CBS This Morning, received the Charles Osgood Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, named for legendary broadcaster, WFUV alumnus, and 1954 Fordham graduate.

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Emrick was eloquent in his remarks, recalling the “phone call from Vin: hi Mike, Vin Scully from Los Angeles, I bet you’re wondering why I’m calling?”

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Doc acknowledged the “NHL and NBC loyalty” on hand to see him receive the prestigious honor, including NBC executive producer Sam Flood, and on-air colleague Pierre McGuire,” who chose to come here on his Monday night off.”

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Emrick saluted the New Jersey Devils, “I rode their coattails,” he said, in reference to calling the action of the three-time Stanley Cup champions for two decades. Vic Cangialosi, the NYU alumnus who was handed the baton from Emrick as the new Devils voice, and has performed admirably, was on hand. So too were my old NHL pals Frank Brown and Johnny Dellapina, and it was wonderful to catch up. MSG Network’s Anthony “The Fooch” Fuccilli was in attendance covering the gala.  Two WFUV cronies from back in the day, ESPN’s John “The Chief” Martin and his lovely wife Maryanne, as well as the former Fordham hoops star Darryl Brown, now a top flight media executive, were there too, so it was like old home week for this writer.

Back to the poignent remarks from Mr. Emrick: “Forty-three years ago I started to do hockey play-by-play for a living,” Emrick said. “For 42 years, my wife Joyce has been there, for houses and cars and dogs, and losing both parents, and being diagnosed with cancer, she has been there.” (Emrick is a cancer survivor).

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Emrick thanked WFUV Executive Sports Producer Bob Ahrens, who presented the Scully Award with Fordham University president Fr. Joseph McShane, SJ and university provost Dr. Stephen Freedman and station General Manager Chuck Singleton, the outstanding leader of the WFUV corps.

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The Chicago Tribune’s Paul Skrbina wrote last spring, during Emrick’s 17th Stanley Cup Final, that Doc was “adding to a legacy that has been compared to another legendary broadcaster, baseball’s Vin Scully.  “Maybe,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says with a smile, “Vin Scully is the Doc Emrick of baseball.”

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Ahrens read a message from the immortal Scully, who underwent a medical procedure at the end of the baseball regular season following his 66th campaign as Dodgers’ voice, and there was great news: “I am feeling very well, and looking forward to a complete recovery and the 2016 season…blessings, Vin.”

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FOX Business Channel anchor and WABC’s Imus in the Morning WABC radio personality Connell McShane, another distinguished WFUV alum, served as the Master of Ceremonies. Connell is a former student from my Fordham sports comm class, and the old professor has great pride in watching him develop into one of the best in the business. We caught up and lamented the Mets World Series fate.

It was great to see Dr. Ron Jacobson, who brought me into the world of academia at Fordham, and his lovely wife Akiko; we had a nice chat and wagged a few tales about their canines Sebastian and Zxena. A pair of our former students who have excelled – the NHL’s Derek Kennedy and Syracuse Crunch play-by-player Dan D’Uva – were joyful as the two hockey guys were on hand to watch a hockey legend receive his Scully hardware. D’Uva in particular, as an Emrick protege with a true appreciation of the art of play-by-play, was in his glory. A third, good guy John Kelly, Jr., is honing his play-by-play skills calling hoops for U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

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Previous Scully Award recipients include: inaugural honoree Scully (2008), Dick Enberg (2009), Ernie Harwell (2010), Pat Summerall (2011), Al Michaels (2012), Bob Costas (2013), and Verne Lundquist (2014).

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Previous Osgood Award recipients include: inaugural honoree Osgood (2008), Jim Lehrer (2009), Bob Schieffer (2010), Tom Brokaw (2011), Christiane Amanpour (2012), Sam Donaldson (2013), and Scott Simon (2014).

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On The Record was a celebration of achievement in news and sports broadcasting will honor two professionals from those fields. Two students, Anthony Pucik (sports) and Rob Palazzolo (news)who have demonstrated a commitment to pursuing media careers, were also cited. Young Mr. Pucik, as well as ‘FUV sportscaster Matt Moro are also former students, Moro an intern at Cirillo World, too, and I had the feeling from day one of class that these youngsters were going to be standouts. You could see it in their eyes. And they won’t disappoint. Tara Sledjeski and Alicia Montanaro are two more sports comm products on Mr. Ahrens’ WFUV sports staff who were on hand and excel supremely.  They’re among those pictured below with honoree Emrick and “El Jefe” Ahrens.

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Says Ahrens, glowing with the pride of a proud parent that one could see in his eyes throughout the proceedings: “The students are one of (the station’s) best assets, and deserve credit for helping to make the evening a roaring success.” Amen.
The gala was a benefit to support WFUV (90.7 FM or www.wfuv.org), New York’s source for music discovery, and a noncommercial, member-supported public media service of Fordham University for more than 65 years. All proceeds will be used to support media career training for up to 85 Fordham University students annually in three key workshop areas: broadcast journalism, sportscasting, and engineering.
Editor’s note: Lensman Chris Taggert shot the wonderful evening to provide (all but a few of) the photographs that visually document the night with his customary graphic flair.
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