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Hoyas Basketball Is His Life's Calling

Chvotkin says that he has toned down over the years. He is still emotional, because "it's the emotion of the game that you get into," he explained. "When you're giving that presentation on the radio, you have to be able to give the emotion of what's happening in the arena. Television, you can look at. Radio, you have to describe it."

During the final, frantic seconds of Georgetown's 66-64 win at Villanova on Jan. 15, Chvotkin stood up just after Ashanti Cook threw a long pass to Darrel Owens, who was fouled while attempting a layup. Chvotkin's headset microphone flew off as he rose, and all that can be heard for four seconds or so is the crowd. He recovered to narrate the game-winning points.


"He really is a throwback and old-school," WTEM-980's Tod Castleberry says of Rich Chvotkin, above, who works Georgetown games alone. (Ricky Carioti -- The Washington Post)

_____Memories From the Mike_____

Rich Chvotkin has broadcast more than 900 games during his 31-year career as Georgetown's play-by-play announcer. Here are the games he considers to be the most memorable:

1. March 29, 1982: North Carolina 63, Georgetown 62 (NCAA championship).

"Michael Jordan's shot and Freddy Brown's pass. That was a headliner, great talent on the floor."

2. April 2, 1984: Georgetown 84, Houston 75 (NCAA championship).

"Great defense from Georgetown. That whole tournament, they shut down teams."

3. April 1, 1985: Villanova 66, Georgetown 64 (NCAA championship).

"Heartbreak. Villanova was near perfect. If they played nobody, they couldn't have done any better."

4. March 16, 1980: Iowa 81, Georgetown 80 (Iowa makes 17 of its final 21 shots and wins on Steve Waite's three-point play in the NCAA East Region final).

"One of the best college games ever, pound for pound. Every possession was a war."

5. March 15, 2001: Georgetown 63, Arkansas 61 (Nat Burton's layup at the buzzer gives the Hoyas the win in the NCAA West Region first round).

"Nat Burton's great drive. You could watch him wait until the last second to drive."

6. March 18, 1988: Georgetown 66, LSU 63 (Charles Smith hits a buzzer-beater in the NCAA East Region first round).

"Great last second shot from Smith, like a 30-footer that he banked in to win."

7. Feb. 12, 1980: Georgetown 52, Syracuse 50 (Hoyas end Syracuse's 57-game home winning streak).

"As John Thompson declared, 'Manley Field House is officially closed.' "

8. March 19, 1995: Georgetown 53, Weber State 51 (Don Reid's follow of an Allen Iverson miss helps the Hoyas avoid an upset in the NCAA Southeast Region second round).

"Iverson pushed the ball the length of the floor and missed the shot, but great timing by Reid. Great reaction to catch it and put it back."

9. Feb. 27, 1985: Georgetown 85, St. John's 69 (No. 2 Georgetown tops No. 1 St. John's in Madison Square Garden).

"The sweater game. An absolute war. The atmosphere was incredible; it was the toughest ticket in town."

10. March 18, 1975: Georgetown 62, West Virginia 61 (Derrick Jackson's 18-footer with two seconds left wins the ECAC South final).

"Derrick Jackson's 'shot heard round the world.' It put Thompson in the NCAA tournament for the first time."

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Owens to shoot two. How about the pressure on Darrel Owens? The worst the Hoyas can do is overtime. Two for Darrel. Toss in the air. THAT'S IT! Owens drops the free throw with one-tenth of a second to go! There is no way under the sun that Villanova can score with one-tenth of a second. One more for Owens. In the air -- he's got a pair! Georgetown has come to Villanova and has upset the Cats here at Villanova on 1985 championship day!

"We always hope that if it's a close game, Georgetown wins," Castleberry said. "Because we know that we'll get an unbelievable highlight call that we can use over and over the next day and that will be picked up and heard on national radio shows."

Chvotkin gets so involved because Georgetown basketball is as much a part of his family as he is a part of Georgetown basketball. His wife, Lynn, used to help him sell ads and set up equipment before games. After they had children, she stayed at home during the games and piped the broadcasts over the intercom system in their house. That was how Lynn, his wife of 30 years, convinced the children -- Lorin (now 28), Evan (26) and Pam (21) -- to get ready for bed when they were younger; she wouldn't turn the radio on until they had bathed and put on their pajamas. If the game turned out to be a blowout, they'd fall asleep. Once the children were old enough, they started to help out at games.

The only games that Chvotkin has missed since 1974 came during the 1990-91 season, when his Army Reserve unit was called up for duty in the Persian Gulf War. Still, he managed to listen to a few games on Armed Forces radio, though "it was kind of eerie listening to the Georgetown game that I wasn't doing."

He once drove through a sandstorm in order to call home and get a score; he somehow tracked down Georgetown's longtime sports information director, Bill Shapland, during the Big East Tournament to get updates.

Chvotkin was gone for six months, and Lynn called it "the most horrific part of our existence." But every Friday, she and her children got a call from Thompson Jr. or one of his assistants. "That was so comforting to all of us," Lynn said.

Evan still helps out when the Hoyas play at MCI Center. He was by his father's side when Georgetown hosted Notre Dame on Jan. 23, and Evan tried to settle Rich down in the final seconds, as the Hoyas trailed by one.

Inbounds to Cook going the other way. Falls made a great shot. Cook going the other way, gets it down low, Hibbert jams it! Hoyas win! Hoyas win! Hoyas win! Hoyas win! Let's see if they say basket -- let's see what they call! Let's see what they call! Let's see what they call! They have to review it, but I believe Roy Hibbert hit the shot! I believe he beat the buzzer! I believe the shot was good! Oh my! What a shot by Hibbert!

The shot was indeed good. The Hoyas did win. And Rich Chvotkin went home happy.


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