Dan Patrick Event Recap
This past Monday, September 14th, the Cornell ILR Sports Business Society had the
honor of hosting Dan Patrick on an interactive Zoom call where he discussed his intriguing
career in the sports and entertainment industry. Dan is currently the host of The Dan Patrick
Show, a daily sports radio broadcast. He is also known for his 18 years at ESPN, including when he became a fan favorite as the co-anchor of SportsCenter along with Cornell alumni Keith Olbermann. Other highlights of his career include hosting NBC's Football Night in America, being a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, and acting alongside Adam Sandler in popular movies such as Grown Ups and The Benchwarmers.
Throughout the call, Dan gave valuable advice to the students. In his early years, Dan
volunteered for everything. Dan emphasized how important it is to get your foot in the door,
both for self-discovery about personal interests and in an attempt to get ahead of the game. Dan had worked from midnight on Saturdays to 9 AM on Sundays at a local Dayton radio station, which eventually led to him being promoted to the morning job. Next, he got hired to do headline sports at CNN. Within 6 months, he replaced Keith Olbermann as the New York sports reporter. Before Dan knew it, he was covering prestigious events like the World Series, NBA Finals, and Winter Olympics.
After CNN, Dan was at ESPN for 18 years, where he became co-anchor of SportsCenter
along with Cornell alumni Keith Olbermann. Despite being extremely successful at ESPN, Dan
began to feel like he wasn’t getting better at his job and wanted to revitalize himself. He felt like someone else deserved his job at ESPN’s SportsCenter. All Dan wanted to do was come home to his children and wife, and take the risk that most would never dream of taking. When his contract was up, Dan decided to do exactly that: He left ESPN. Over time, it became clear to Dan that he had made the right decision, especially through the help of his wife Susan. Dan had a specific comment on his ESPN situation that really stuck out to me: take risks and always bet on yourself. Dan had said, “Do NOT have anyone told you you can’t do something. Do NOT be told NO, and, if you are, then ask how you can hear YES from them.”
One thing that makes Dan special at his job is this unique, friendly bond he creates with
his listeners. His fans feel like they know Dan personally, and he recently even comforted a
father who called in before dropping off his daughter at college. Dan explained that he feels he creates this bond with his listeners by being honest, serious, and professional, in addition to letting fans submit tweets and emails. When Dan has guests on, he is also a fabulous
interviewer, as he treats it more similarly to a casual conversation that the listener is
eavesdropping on rather than a true, formal interview. Dan mentioned that he listens closely to the interviewee’s response rather than focusing intently on the question he asked them. Additionally, Dan attributes his success partially to his personal “Board of Directors.” These
include his loyal friends, who happen to be his studio audience, as well as others in his life that he can consistently count on.
Lastly, Dan had interesting stories about his time in sports radio and broadcasting. Even
stars like Dan get starstruck, as he recalled a time when he had given an award to Muhammad Ali. Additionally, Dan talked about his experiences handing out the Super Bowl trophy (4 separate times) as well as going to John Wooden’s apartment. Being around celebrities is a common occurrence for Dan, whose great friend Adam Sandler consistently calls him up with a new movie role. One of Dan’s wishes is to be featured in enough films so that his face will be on the Academy Awards Wall when he passes. All in all, Dan always stays humble, and reminds himself that “he’s just a kid from a little town in Ohio.” Just like the rest of us, Dan spends his free time binge-watching shows like Ozark, Better Call Saul, Bosch, and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
It was an incredible honor to have hosted Dan Patrick and we welcome the opportunity to talk with him again.