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Dave Sitton, longtime UA broadcaster, dead at 58

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Dave Sitton, longtime UA broadcaster, dead at 58

  • Sitton at an April 2012 GOP debate.
    Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.comSitton at an April 2012 GOP debate.
  • Sitton announces his congressional candidacy in February 2012.
    Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.comSitton announces his congressional candidacy in February 2012.

William David Sitton, a University of Arizona sports broadcaster for three decades and a former GOP congressional candidate, has died at age 58.

Sitton died of a heart attack early Monday morning after being taken to Tucson Medical Center. Sitton — who was known to all by his middle name — last posted on Facebook on Friday night.

Sitton was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma eight years ago, but the cancer disappeared following chemotherapy.

Sitton, who coached the UA rugby team for 39 years, began broadcasting UA baseball games on radio after injuring his shoulders as a student-athlete. He played both baseball and rugby, putting in time as a coach for the rugby team while playing during his senior year.

He announced UA football and baseball games from 1990-2012, and won multiple Emmy awards for his work, which included appearances on ESPN, ABC and NBC.

In June, Sitton led the Wildcats to the quarterfinals of the USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championships, losing to California 26-12. The Wildcats lost the 2012 championship in the fast-paced sport to Dartmouth, 24-5, after a key senior broke his arm early in the match.

In 2012, Sitton was a primary candidate in the spring special election to pick a Republican in the race to fill Gabrielle Giffords' seat. He garnered 17 percent of the vote in the four-way primary, which was won by Jesse Kelly — who went on to lose to Democrat Ron Barber.

Sitton was active in the community as a member of the Tucson Conquistadores, and served on the board of the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority.

He ran Enterprise Communications Group, and had worked as marketing director for the UA Cancer Center, and as a Southern Arizona vice president for Clear Channel Outdoor.

Sitton is survived by two adult daughters, Olivia and  Blakeney.

Barber on Sitton's death

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber released this statement Monday afternoon, remarking on the death of Dave Sitton:

Dave Sitton came to Tucson four decades ago to play baseball at the University of Arizona – and he stayed, giving back to his adopted hometown in a way that few others have.

Many knew Dave as the longtime voice of UA sports – but he was so much more than that as he became deeply involved in our community. He was among the first to step forward and offer his time and his talents to nonprofit organizations that were struggling. Dave was heavily involved in sports at all levels – but he also was a great music lover and worked tirelessly to ensure the Tucson Pops remains a vibrant part of the Tucson scene.

In the past year, I have been working closely with Dave and others who are dedicated to strengthening our military installations and supporting our men and women in uniform in Southern Arizona. Dave was a true patriot who understood the importance of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca and the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona National Guard to our national security and our local economy.

Dave Sitton was a friend and a colleague. He left enormous footprints on the Tucson community and will be deeply missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

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