by Dan Gibson
Dave Sitton, broadcaster, congressional candidate, rugby coach and advocate, and one of those guys everyone seemed to like, has died.
Sitton had his hands in a number of endeavors from emceeing events, sitting on a number of boards, hosting a weekly radio show (following over three decades of broadcasting University of Arizona sports) and as a tireless advocate for rugby, the game he took up after injuries drove him out of baseball. In 2012, Sitton ran in the Republican special election to succeed Gabrielle Giffords, losing to Jesse Kelly. Most recently, Sitton was the President of The Enterprise Communications Group, following time working at the Arizona Cancer Center, where he was treated for lymphoma.
Sitton was 58.
More from John Schuster, below the cut:
If you wanted the definition of community involvement, look no further than Dave Sitton. Obituaries tend to outline someone’s accomplishments, but those who knew Sitton—and if you live in Tucson, pretty much everyone knew Sitton—understood what Tucson meant to him.
From a media standpoint, there are figures in every town that take on almost iconic status. In Tucson, you’d have to put Sitton on that list. But pigeonholing him doesn’t do his immense list of accomplishments justice.
Sitton was the television voice of UA men’s basketball from 1990 to 2012, when the university’s involvement with the Pac-12 Network led to changes in the play-by-play broadcast arrangement. He was paired with the likes of former men’s basketball coach Bruce Larsen and former players Bob Elliott and Corey Williams. And he was unapologetically an Arizona fan and ambassador for Bear Down.
Arizona’s club rugby team is a known commodity nationally because of Sitton’s influence as coach and tireless promoter of the sport. He was looking forward to the opportunity to experience its inclusion in the Olympics, and had hopes of even broadcasting the event for NBC.
He remained an active community contributor until his shocking death of a heart attack Sunday night, just hours after sounding just like you’d expect Sitton to sound on his weekend talk shows on KQTH 104.1 FM, where he’d spend three hours expounding on subjects that were especially important to him: the contributions of our servicemen, the issues facing males aged 18-24, and the struggles people face as they battle cancer, in what he coined “Appointment Radio.”
Sitton was a cancer survivor, and regularly shared that triumph with listeners, friends, strangers. Although it seemed that stranger wasn’t much in the Sitton vocabulary. He was a man of values, and he had no problem sharing his code with anyone willing to listen. His failed bid for congress gets mentioned, but it’s barely a blip when compared to the countless other ways he contributed to the community. Even if he couldn’t be of assistance in Washington, he always strived to make Tucson a better place.
As a member of the Tucson Conquistadores, and the go-to guy to emcee fundraisers, it’s nearly impossible to put a figure on the money Sitton helped generate for causes in the Old Pueblo.
Born and raised in Southern California, Sitton moved to Tucson in the early 70s to try his hand at baseball. Injuries sidetracked those aspirations, but clearly didn’t slow him down.
Tucson was Sitton’s home. His impact on that home is impossible to measure.