• Alumni
Bob Fishman ’65 Wins DGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Television

“March Madness” – the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship – comes to a head this weekend, but this year’s iteration of college hoops’ signature television event also marks the first time in more than 40 years that its coverage was not directed for CBS Sports by Bob Fishman ’65. When it comes to the Final Four, “Fish” was more of a fixture than Duke, Kansas, or North Carolina, but the 2022 championship was his finale.

In February, after a brilliant career spanning more than 50 years, Fishman became just the fifth-ever recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television from the Directors Guild of America.

Fishman says capturing the human side of the game for viewers was as important as any game-winning basket his camera operators captured. The image of the late coach Jim Valvano scrambling up the court, looking desperately to latch onto one of his jubilant players and share the euphoria after their North Carolina State team toppled heavily favored Houston to capture the 1983 NCAA championship is something that lives in the lore of the sport 40 years later. That viewers were able to enjoy the scene amid the on-court chaos is a testament to the awareness and storytelling talents of Fishman, then in just his second year directing the Final Four for CBS.

“For me, it’s about a reaction shot,” Fishman said. “It’s not necessarily the winning shot; it’s the shot I see in front of me and decide to put it on the air.”

Fishman didn’t always work in sports. In 1972, he was the only on-site member of the Directors Guild of America when CBS’s scheduled director fell violently ill prior to the launch of Apollo 17. The network turned to him to quarterback its coverage of NASA’s final mission of its Apollo moon program. He was 26 years old.

“That was kind of a make-or-break thing, because if I had not done a decent job on it, I would have gone down a peg on the ladder of prospective future directors, that’s for sure,” he says. “But things happen for a reason.”  

For additional information, contact Lisa M. Gillard H'17, director of public relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.