Kaplan College Chicago
You grew up in the suburbs of Chicago before attending Minnesota’s Hamline University. Did you always know you wanted to come back?
Absolutely. When I got out of college I got into law school but I didn’t go and instead became a basketball coach. I guess if my career in coaching had taken me anywhere I would have followed it but I always wanted to do radio and TV and be back here. This is my home and it’s the greatest sports city in the world so the good Lord took care of me.
It’s actually a pretty funny story. I was coaching at Northern Illinois and I was scouting in the NBA for four years. It was snowing, a Sunday morning and I got a call from this guy who says, “I’m calling from SportsChannel America. I know you’ve coached but have you ever done television? Our analyst got snowed in, he can’t get here and the game is in two hours.” It was DePaul, the number one team in the country at Allstate Arena. They were great back then. I had never done anything except watch television but I said, “Oh yeah, I’ve done a ton of television.” He’s like, “You have? Great, can you do this game?” and he hired me. Piece of cake.
Exactly! Fake it ’til you make it. If you open the door that much, I’m gonna kick it in. When I did that game it was like doing something you felt like you were born to do, I just talked basketball. Then after the game he said, “Why am I flying a guy in from L.A. to do this? You’re here, I’ll give you the 10 other games left on the schedule.” That was in 1987 and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Being totally honest with you, my late father was an attorney, my mom was a dietician and my brother is an eye surgeon so education was stressed. It was just the stressing part never really filtered down to me. I was not the greatest student, I was immature and I knew I had to work in sports. To some people sports is their entertainment, their passion. To me it’s my life. I’m over the top sports. Every kind of sport, you name it.
In your opinion what has been Chicago’s best sports era?
The ’85 Bears, no question. I love the Michael Jordan era and I guess he would be the greatest player to ever come through here but the ’85 Bears captivated the city. I think if you added all six Bulls championships together they still did not have the same impact as a team on the city in the way the Bears did. It was crazy.
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