May 7, 2012
WASHINGTON - Calling it one of the proudest moments of his career, long-time Georgetown men's basketball radio announcer Rich Chvotkin recalled the early days of his broadcast career at a dinner on Saturday night at the Capital Hilton during the induction ceremonies of the Washington Metropolitan Basketball Hall of Fame.
Chvotkin, who has called Georgetown men's basketball games for 38 years, was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with former Maryland men's basketball player Len Bias (posthumously), long-time Washington Bullets general manager Bob Ferry, Maryland radio announcer Johnny Holiday and legendary high school basketball coach Stu Vetter.
"When I was first told I was going to be inducted, which is a great honor, I couldn't believe the class," Chvotkin said. "What an amazing class. What an amazing array of individuals who have set the scene for Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Basketball for so many years."
Following a welcome address from Chris Knoche, Maryland radio color analyst, Bias was the first inductee honored, followed by Chvotkin.
Chvotkin was introduced to the crowd of more than 150 by Alfred R. Bozzo, Jr., the President of the Hoya Hoop Club.
"It's an honor to be here tonight and present a great Hoya for induction (to the Washington Metropolitan Basketball Hall of Fame)," Bozzo said. "When people think about Georgetown basketball, they think about the many dominating big men who starred on the Hilltop, carrying the Hoyas to many great victories. They think about two coaches named Thompson, Big John, the father, and JTIII, the son. And they think about the signature voice of Georgetown basketball, Rich Chvotkin."
A native of Scranton, Pa., Chvotkin's route to become the radio voice for Georgetown was anything but typical. He and his wife, Lynn, moved to the D.C. area in 1972 and he was a psychologist at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Chvotkin, who Bozzo referred to as a "college hoops junkie," had done some broadcasting as an undergraduate at the University of Scranton and decided he wanted to make an attempt at being a college broadcaster.
"There was no radio station at Georgetown, there was no advertising, zero," Chvotkin said. "But I said to myself that I could do this. So what I did was, I went to Fran Connors, who was then the Sports Information Director, and made a few tapes sitting up in the stands with a tape recorder. Then they gave it to Thompson, and obviously he liked it."
Chvotkin went on to tell the tale of his helping to find a station - and a meeting with then-athletics director Frank Rienzo and former Coach Thompson at WOOK-AM - that first year, and of the program's first sponsor, Ducky's Quack Shack.
"In that year, prior to the start of the season, we had to actually go out and sell it," Chvotkin said. "So I sold the advertising, wrote the commercials and read the commercials on the air."
Chvotkin, who called 16-straight BIG EAST Tournaments in their entirety, is considered unique among radio teams in that he has announced games solo since 1986. He has broadcast nearly half of the entire history of games in Georgetown basketball (1,186), though his streak was not continuous as he was called to military service during the 1990-91 season as part of Operation Desert Storm. Chvotkin has become known for his nuances in the broadcasts, including 'liftoff' and 'vesper' halves of play, as well as 'the hoop and the harm,' but none more so than his signature call..."Hoyas Win!"
"The Georgetown family has been the family for me and it's been wonderful," Chvotkin said. "So (former Hoya All-American) Roy Hibbert came the other day and I went to say hello to him and good luck in the playoffs. I'm sitting next to this guy from Indiana who was a fan of Roy's and wanted to talk to him. I said Roy, congratulations and he said "Hoyas win, Hoyas win, Hoyas win" and walked away. And this guy looked at me and said, "Is that all he says?" And I said that's all he has to say."