Former BG coach hosts radio showWritten by Norm Wamer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Life can sometimes be described as a roller coaster and former Bowling Green basketball coach Dan Dakich has been on one hell of a ride. Dakich ended his 10-year run as men’s basketball coach of the Falcons at the end of the 2006-2007 season with no job waiting for him.
He landed back at his alma mater last season as director of basketball operations at Indiana University, a fancy name for a less than full-duty assistant coach. Through fate, luck or whatever you want to call it, misdeeds by head coach Kelvin Sampson and his staff led to Dakich realizing his dream, albeit briefly, of becoming head coach of Indiana.
What seemed like a full-circle turn back to unemployment was only part of a bigger circle, the circle that began with a broadcasting degree.
Despite never being afraid to confront a reporter he disagreed with, Dan Dakich was the rare coach who largely enjoyed working with the media. He has been a hilarious guest of mine on radio talk shows for more than 10 years and his own radio and TV coach’s shows have had a faithful, if not legendary, cult following. Funny, smart and holding little back, it was easy to see why Dakich was dynamite behind a microphone. Emmis Communications, owners of WFNI-AM, 1070 “The Fan” in Indianapolis saw the same thing.
After being bought out of the final year of his Indiana contract, Dakich found it to be too late to find a quality basketball coaching job for the upcoming season. The now former coach was happy to live a basketball season spending quality time with his family when he was asked to fill in as a sports talk show host in Indianapolis. The founder and CEO of the Emmis Communications station is none other than Jeff Smulyan, Indiana native, sports fan and former owner of the Seattle Mariners.
The fill-in host was actually being auditioned for a full-time gig. On Oct. 6, the “Dan Dakich Show” was born in the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. time slot on “The Fan” in Indianapolis. The Indiana University broadcasting major who once joked that “maybe Jackie (his wife) should take her master’s degree out for a test drive,” has now closed a bigger circle by dusting off his own degree.
“I love the job! I love it,” said Dakich this week on “The Front Row.” “I have real fun people to work with.”
Dakich, who is an icon in Indiana sports circles, has been flooded with calls from fans on his new show while tackling serious sports topics from the disappointing Chicago Cubs and Indianapolis Colts to not-so-serious segments, such as asking listeners if they are “smarter than an eighth grader” by picking football games against his son Andrew or giving guys fashion tips” from female co-workers at the radio station.
“I’ve been lucky,” confided Dakich. “I’ve never had a job that’s a job.” Dakich, who still lives in Bloomington, Ind., must drive 45 minutes to an hour each way to Indianapolis daily. He said he doesn’t mind the drive there, but doesn’t enjoy the ride back. “You gotta prepare every day, though, so I keep a notepad on the seat while I’m driving for any ideas.”
Dakich won’t make any commitments past the current basketball season. “I’m kind of looking at this as the only year I’m doing this, but I’m taking it day to day.”
Maybe the need for competition will be too much to keep Dakich off the bench next season, but a good coach may have found something he is even better at.
Norm Wamer is program director of Sports Radio 1470 “The Ticket” WLQR-AM and co-hosts “The Front Row” weekday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m.