FSU video coordinator, CSVA VP, and SVG Board Member Billy Vizzini passes away at 36

The SVG and CSVA both lost a valuable member of their communities last night when Billy Vizzini, Florida State Seminoles Football video coordinator, SVG Advisory Board member, and Collegiate Sports Video Association vice president, passed away at the age of 36. He had been battling an aggressive form of cancer since August.

“Last night we as collegiate video professionals lost a dear friend, mentor, and colleague,” says Luke Goldstein, CSVA president. “Billy ‘V’ was a special person who brought a mix of knowledge and laughter to each person that he touched. He will truly be missed but also reflected on as someone who has changed our profession forever.”

A New Orleans, La., native, Vizzini earned a master’s degree in athletic administration from Florida State in 1995 and his undergrad in Meteorology from FSU. He was an active member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the Tallahassee Quarterback Club. For the last several years, Vizzini also served as the assistant camp director for Team Camp USA that is held during summers in Tallahassee.

“We are all saddened by the death of Billy Vizzini,” Florida State Athletics Director Dave Hart said. “Billy was a tireless worker who was one of the best in the nation in his field of work. He was always on the cutting edge when it came to the best available in video technology and provided our coaches, across the board, with what they needed to be successful. Billy was a true Seminole who cared very deeply about not only the job he did, but those he did it for, and he will be missed very much by the Florida State family.”

Vizzini, meteorology major at FSU, began his career in sports while still an undergrad when he managed the FSU basketball team (then coached by Pat Kennedy). It was during his time there that Vizzini began to get involved with video, operating a video camera at practice.

By the time he earned his degree in meteorology, Vizzini had become hooked on the video aspect of his job. He parlayed that work into a graduate assistant’s position as he completed his post-grad work in sports administration. ”By the time I was graduating, it [meteorology] was the last thing on my mind,” Vizzini said in a 1999 interview.

In 1997 Vizzini took over the videography arm of the athletic department, but only under the condition that he got time off in February to return home to New Orleans and participate in the Mardi Gras celebration.

While Vizzini approached life and his job with laughter and zeal he also was never satisfied. ”People outside of here that I know and meet may view me as a bigger part of it than I do,” Vizzini said. ”That’s not to say I don’t view me as a part of the solution or the staff, but I always think we could do more.”

Rick Bagby, Clemson University video coordinator, says Vizzini’s openness and willingness to take a stand on issues that matter made him a great leader for the Collegiate Sports Video Association. And he also worked harder than just about anybody.

“I cannot tell you how many Video Coordinators he bailed another video coordinator out over the years by taping an obscure television broadcast of a sporting event that no one else thought about,” says Bagby. “When a coach would walk into a video room looking for that tape everyone knew that if Billy didn’t have it no one did.”

Vizzini, himself, worked primarily with Florida State’s nationally-renowned football and oversaw all of FSU’s varsity sports programs. From 1994-97, he served as the video coordinator for the basketball programs and the Olympic sports. He was highly skilled in several video systems including the Omega Edit System, Avid Sports Pro, DVCAM, Betacam and SVHS cameras, Sony Be 910, Webb Coaches Playmaker and XO’s Sportspro.

Most recently Vizzini headed an alliance for FSU with XOS Technologies, Inc., which made FSU one of only six site licenses nationally. This enabled FSU to improve their video operations across the board. In 1998 Vizzini led the way in sports video by choosing to use the Omega system for coach’s video. FSU was among the first major schools to adopt this software, which was developed by FSU grads Bryan and David Engelke and go totally tapeless. After winning the National Championship in 1999, the system became adopted nationwide.

After joining the Collegiate Sports Video Association (CSVA) in 1999, Vizzini quickly rose to a leadership position and was elected Vice President. Additionally, he was the chairman of the CSVA National Convention Committee and was instrumental in the growth and development of the CSVA Annual Conference, increasing member and sponsor involvement threefold in less than four years.

Two years ago he was named the CSVA representative to the Sports Video Group (SVG), a sports technology group that spans sports broadcasting networks, sports and broadcast technology manufacturers and developers, and sports teams and franchises. He was a charter member of the SVG Board of Directors.

“Billy battled his illness with the same kind of dignity and sense of humor that typified his life, friendships and relationships,” says Ken Kerschbaumer, SVG editorial director. “George Steinbrenner said God must have needed a shortstop when Phil Rizzuto died. I guess he also needed a video coordinator and God now has one of the best in his camp.”

Adds Bagby, “Billy was a great friend of mine and to many people. His smile, laugh, jokes and stories will be missed greatly. But more importantly collegiate Video Coordinators have lost a mentor and a leader. Billy leaves a huge void in our profession and our lives. He will be greatly missed.”

Vizzini is survived by his mother Yolanda, his father Bill, his stepmother Ann, his sister Tina and his two nieces. Services will be announced as information becomes available.

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