In Their Words is a weekly feature appearing Sundays in The Blade's Sports section. Sports writer Donald Emmons recently caught up with onetime Bowling Green State University men's basketball coach Dan Dakich to discuss his experiences as a college basketball coach and his work as a sports talk show host and a college basketball television analyst.
Dan Dakich has never been shy about expressing his viewpoint with referees or opposing coaches who might have different takes.
A few years removed from a 10-year stint coaching the Falcons, Dakich has continued to share his opinions with others on a daily basis.
Only now his audience is larger and his topics are broader than the nuances and intricacies of college basketball.
Dakich hosts a daily three-hour sports-talk radio show in the Indianapolis area. He alsois a basketball analyst for the Big Ten Network.
His new career has been quite an adjustment.
He guided the Falcons from 1997 to 2006 andserved a brief stint as Indiana's interim coach two years ago.
During his tenure at BG, the Falcons posted five winning seasons, earning National Invitational Tournament berths in 1997, 2000, and 2002.
He owned a 156-140 career record at BG, which included winning the MAC East Division title in 2000.
However, the Falcons posted losing seasons in four of his last five at BG, which ultimately led to him not receiving a contract renewal.
Nonetheless, the decision led Dakich back to his home state, Indiana, where he worked for a brief time at his alma mater, Indiana University, before getting involved with radio and TV gigs.
Dakich and his family - wife, Jackie; son, Andrew, and daughter, Laura - live in the Indianapolis area.
"I MISS IT [COACHING]. There isn't anything about it that I don't miss. [Working in the media] enables me to be around it, and I'm able to talk to a variety of guys [coaches]. If I decided to get back in it I'll certainly be more than ready.
"I'm not actually looking for anything right now. I'm not the kind of person to go looking for the next job. You never know when it's going to happen.…
"As a coach, I love putting a team together. There's nothing like coaching. You don't get the same kind of rush doing something other than coaching.… There's nothing like playing, but if you like coaching there's nothing like it."
"I REALLY LOVE Bowling Green. I still go back a lot. I miss it. I had a great time there. I think Louis Orr has done a great job. I still follow them. I follow the basketball teams and the football team."
"My whole thing was to win the MAC championship and get to the NCAA tournament. I would have loved to reach the NCAA tournament for Bowling Green and the fans.... It still bothers me that we weren't able to do it. We got close two or three times. But the MAC is tough.
"We had a lot of great wins. Truthfully, to this day there are three or four games we lost I still can't get over."
"HOSTING A RADIO sports-talk show wasn't anything I planned for. The opportunity presented itself, and I thought I would give it a try. The job is a lot of fun. There is a competitive element about it with the ratings and Indy is a good sports town."
"This is a big Colts town. I've got callers wanting to talk about the Colts, or the Tampa 2 defense, or the Pacers. The Pacers are big, so it's all been a great education for me. It's been a learning experience. I'd never been an interviewer, I'd always been the interviewee….
"I tape guys like Bob Costas and James Brown and study them.... It's given me a whole different perspective. It's like anything else, when you go to a new job you learn what to do and what not to do."
"SERVING AS INDIANA'S interim coach was really strange because of how it all happened. At that time, you're just trying to keep a program afloat and get it back to where the Indiana program once was. I think people took for granted a little bit how Coach (Bob) Knight ran the program would return. When I went back there I really liked Kelvin Sampson, but the entire program was completely different. It was different in a negative way. To go back to see the way it was, it was disappointing. That was sad for me and it would be sad for me if that was ever the case at BG."
"THE BIG TEN and the MAC are different. When I left Indiana [as an assistant coach] and went to Bowling Green to become head coach I noticed the money was different. The level of play I think in the MAC, particularly in the early 2000s, was really, really good. When I first got there the level of play was not that different than in the Big Ten. It was not the same, but it was not that different."
"I THINK RIVALRIES are always fun. They're fun because a lot of people who maybe didn't follow UT or BG follow either of those teams just for that game, whether it's football or basketball. I thought it was kind of silly that BG and UT are in different divisions and maybe would play only once in a season. The MAC has to understand building upon rivalries like BG and UT promotes interest."