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Columbia's Forte Heads to Sports Broadcasting Hall

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Courtesy of Columbia Sports Information

NEW YORK -- On Tuesday, December 16, Columbia legend Chet Forte '57 was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, alongside other broadcasting greats like Vin Scully and Don Ohlmeyer.

After graduation from Columbia and a short career in minor league pro basketball, the Hackensack, N.J., native went into sports broadcasting with ABC. He gained fame as the celebrated ABC sports director who helped to launch Monday Night Football. As its first director, he earned a directing Emmy Award. He worked 25 years at ABC, and directed the network coverage of two Olympic games.

In his senior season at Columbia, Forte was voted college basketball's Player of the Year in 1957, beating out Wilt Chamberlain and West Virginia great Hot Rod Hundley. Forte was a consensus All-America, won the Haggerty Award as the top player in the New York Metropolitan area and was All-Ivy League and All-Metropolitan. He played in a national College All-Star Game and set a scoring record with 32 points.

Forte earned All-Ivy League status in his first season of varsity eligibility (1954-55) and went on to earn All-America honors in 1955-56 and 1956-57. Forte scored 1,611 points in 65 games, averaging 24.8 points per game for his career.

In 1956-57, he set all of the Columbia scoring records, including points per game (28.9), free-throw percentage (85.2%) field goals made (235), free throws made (224) and points in a season (694). Forte still holds all but one of those records.

His one-game scoring record of 45 points, set in 1957 against Penn, stood until Buck Jenkins scored 47 against Harvard in 1991.

Forte passed away in May of 1996 at the age of 60 after a heart attack.

His biography can be found on the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame under the 2008 inductee list.

- A.S.