December 2, 2014
By Mark Ambrogi
From: Current in Carmel
As Dan Dakich was packing up his office at Indiana University after his term as interim head basketball coach ended in 2008, he made a call that would change the course of his life.
“I didn’t want to get back into coaching,” said Dakich, who had previously been Bowling Green’s head coach for 10 seasons. “At that point I’d had enough. I didn’t want to move around the country.”
He made a call to Kent Sterling, who had suggested Dakich get into the media business when he was finished coaching. It proved perfect timing because Sterling, then WFNI-1070 AM programing director and now a sports talk show host on 1430 AM, was looking for a local radio show to replace Colin Cowherd’s nationally syndicated show on WFNI in Indianapolis. Dakich did some trial runs and soon got the show.
From there, the 52-year-old Zionsville resident’s broadcasting career has skyrocketed. Not only does he have his successful three-hour radio show, but he is a top color commentator on ESPN college basketball games.
“I’ve gotten so lucky,” said Dakich, whose son Andrew played basketball at Zionsville High School and is now a sophomore walk-on guard at Michigan. “Maybe that’s why it happened. Kent told me to be yourself and things will fall in place. I never imagined this going to where this is. I have some pretty wild dreams but they don’t involve radio or TV.”
Dakich, a former IU basketball player, auditioned for a Big Ten Network job in the 2008-09 season, but didn’t get it. He was hired to be a Big Ten Network studio basketball analyst the next season. He began working at ESPN in the 2010-11 season.
Dakich is known to occasionally break out in song, sometimes he’ll give relationship advice or seek dining tips during his radio talk show.
Occasionally, Dakich gets combative with callers, e-mailers or tweeters who are critical of his views. He said he has been more tolerant of late and plans to avoid Twitter arguments.
“Even my mother has said, ‘You’ve been so good lately. You’re nicer than you were,’” Dakich said.
Whatever he does, it’s working. Dakich’s radio show was No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings in the Indianapolis area for the coveted demographic of males ages 12 to 54 in his time slot (noon to 3 p.m.) for the month of October.