Updated: June 24, 2013 2:19PM
Dan Dakich has hosted his own sports talk radio show in Indianapolis on 1070-AM (ESPN) for almost five years. He was in Merrillville on Friday, playing golf and speaking at a fundraiser for Andrean, his alma matter.
He talked with Mike Hutton about everything from his golf game, the popularity of his show, how his son Andrew, a basketball player at Zionsville High School, ended up going to Michigan and not Purdue or Butler, and about his deep connection to Andrean.
How is your golf game?
For as much as I play, kind of crappy. I played Crooked Stick yesterday and my son beat me. I don’t concentrate enough. I need some Xanax — that might help. I had shoulder surgery six or eight weeks ago. It doesn’t hurt as much but I keep reinjuring stuff. I think I’m getting soft.
How long have you had your radio show? You obviously enjoy it. Did you think it would turn out to be so popular?
It’ll be five years in October. God-dang, I love it. I didn’t think about it going big-time. I had no experience at it. Kent Sterling, who ran the station in Indy, hired me. He told me whatever you do, be yourself and don’t be afraid to say things you believe in. I had never done a radio show except a coach’s show. It’s so much fun to do. It’s something I look forward to every day.
You are really active on Twitter (more than 58,000 followers). Do you write all your tweets and what do you think of Twitter?
I write and respond to all of them. It’s me. My life is boring. I only work three hours a day. I got a great life. I got divorced — I’m a single dad. I stay home, do the laundry and wash the dishes and get on Twitter. Twitter has made my job so much easier. It’s easier for me to follow the national people and the people in Indy. I used to have get up early and scan the web. I don’t do that anymore. Twitter is fun and it has information and it’s entertaining. Besides, if I wasn’t on it, I would fall way behind and I’m not going to fall behind.
How many games a year do you do?
I have 55 appearances a year — whether it’s games or in-studio stuff. I have two more left this year. I like it all. I love doing the games. I love my relationship with (Mike) Tirico. I have such a great relationship with the group. They gave me great games. For me to go out to Bristol is such a thrill. It’s a place I’ve watched since 1985 or 1986.
Did you know you were going to get into radio and TV after you left coaching?
I had no idea. When I left Bowling Green, I just knew I needed to coach again. When I left Indiana, I didn’t think I needed to coach again. I did get crazy-lucky with the show.
They were getting rid of (Colin) Cowherd and going local, it was the biggest station in Indiana and they were going all sports. I was doing a game on DirectTV (Butler) and someone (from ESPN) heard me and told me they were going in that direction. All I knew is that if I got into it, I was going to bust my (butt) to do the best I could.
How did you know Kent Sterling?
We went to college together, though I didn’t know him then. Through mutual friends. He heard my show at Bowling Green and told me that if I ever wanted to get into media, to let him know. I called him the day I was cleaning out my locker after Tom Crean was hired.
Your son, Andrew, is going to play at Michigan as a preferred walk-on. How did that happen?
He always wanted to play in the Big Ten. Michigan always followed us around at AAU. I was talking to (Michigan assistant) Jeff Meyer about him at the Big Ten Tournament and he asked where he was going. I said either Purdue or Butler as a walk-on.
So they invited him to campus and he just fell in love with it. I fell in love with it. I said, “Son, if you don’t commit, I’m going to commit for you.” He said, “It’s a lot of money.” I told him not to worry about that. It’s perfect for him. Spike (Albrecht) and Mitch McGary are there. They’ve got a good point guard coming in. He might never get to play, but it’s still a great opportunity.
Why has Michigan been able to tap into Indiana so much?
Purdue and Indiana made a mistake using up all their scholarships and not taking Glenn Robinson (III). They are always there, recruiting these kids. It’s a comfortable place for them.
You frequently criticize the media yet you work for ESPN, the biggest media company in the world. Is that part of your shtick?
I don’t have a shtick. That’s who I am. I say what I feel. Obviously, I’m part of the media but they say so many things that are easy that they don’t know that they make out to be facts. They make it sound like the gospel. It irritates me when I know they say something that isn’t right.
You’re obviously real connected to Andrean still. What do you think about coming back again?
I worry about Andrean. They have no priests and no nuns left. I loved it here. They were some of the best years of my life. I learned more at Andrean than I did anywhere else except for at home. I just worry about them.
Will you ever get back into coaching?
Sounds miserable to me, man. When you coached, all you worried about was the kids and winning but you were miserable the whole season. I’m not miserable now. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”