WTIC NewsTalk 1080 is saddened to learn of the death of our longtime friend and colleague Arnold Dean. WTIC General Manager Suzanne McDonald said on hearing of his passing, “Our condolences go out to Arnold’s family. He was a treasured member of our WTIC family, and a much-beloved member of the broadcast and sports community
WTIC Operations Manager Steve Salhany said, “Arnold will be missed by the entire WTIC family. He was a consummate professional, consummate gentleman, and an all-around good person.”
Arnold Dean’s warmth on the air was matched by his geniality off-air. He was a thoughtful and comfortable co-worker.
Arnold’s broadcast career spanned 64 years, starting as a teenage broadcaster in his home town of Cortland, New York. He cut back his work schedule in recent years, but never really retired — taking “Husky Extra Points” calls in-studio two weeks before his death and co-hosting the “Tailgate Show” at Rentschler in the 2012 season.
Arnold joined the WTIC family in July, 1965, and often told the story of how Arnold D’Angelo came up with the air name, Arnold Dean, at the request of then-general manager Leonard Patricelli for a less ethnic name.
Starting in 1976, Arnold hosted one of the earliest all-sports call-in shows, “WTIC SportsTalk with Arnold Dean,” with a calm and even-handed demeanor perhaps best illustrated by the two-visored baseball cap he was given at a speaking engagement — a cap reading Boston Red Sox on one brim, New York Yankees on the other.
Over the years, Arnold covered the range of sports in Connecticut, from UConn basketball and football, to the Greater Hartford Open, from the Hartford Whalers to the Hartford Knights.
Though Arnold may be best remembered as a sportscaster and sports talk show host, he was also an expert on the Big Band era, and hosted music shows, including “Meet Me on The Plaza,” “Sunday Showcase,” and “One Night Stand With the Big Bands.” The Library of Congress now contains copies of his interviews with bandleaders and musicians featured on the program.
After the retirement of WTIC’s legendary host Bob Steele, Arnold Dean and Tom McCarthy took the reins of the WTIC morning show .
His wife, Helen, died last year. They had three children — Arnold Junior, Mary, and Richie.
Comment from Jim Calhoun, UConn Men’s Basketball Coach Emeritus:”All of us at UConn are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Arnold Dean. Not only was he an icon of sports broadcasting in Connecticut, but also a true gentleman in every sense of the word.
The day I had my press conference after accepting the job at UConn, I was on Arnold’s show that night and that began a wonderful 27-year relationship we both enjoyed. When Arnold Dean asked for an interview, I actually looked forward to it. He was extremely easy to talk to and listened to what you had to say. He was just an incredible guy.
His voice, so familiar to sports fans throughout the state, wil be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Comment from UConn Women’s Coach Geno Auriemma:
“Arnold is a reminder of an earlier age when gentlemen reporters were the norm. I had great respect for the work he did and more importantly for the person that he was. He was and always will be the Dean of Connecticut sports.”
Comment from former UConn Athletics Special Advisor, Dee Rowe:”Arnold Dean was truly a treasure and one of God’s special people. I have known Arnold since I came here over 43 years ago and I cherish those years. I don’t think there could have been a kinder, gentler and more respected guy in his business. He so many lives in such a special way. The sports world has changed so dramatically over the years, but he helped keep it sane. He put everything in perspective and never made himself or his work bigger than the games. Arnold was devoted to Helen, his family, his faith and his profession. He was all about integrity, loyalty, dignity and style. He never changed and was always about what is good and right about sports. He always brought a purity and breath of fresh air to all of us and to be his friend is particularly special. I could never thank him enough for our friendships. I wish I had one more chance to tell him how much I care about him. There will only be one Arnold Dean.”
WTIC will pay tribute to Arnold with a special program Monday night from 6 until 8 pm.