Shark Spotlight: Alan Hahn Talks Career, ESPN, and Advice for Journalism Students
By: JOE SIMILE / SPORTS CO-EDITOR
One of the successes of Long Island University’s Journalism department is radio host, author, and reporter Alan Hahn.
Hahn graduated from LIU Post in the early 1990’s, getting his start with Post’s student newspaper The Pioneer. Hahn has gone on to author five books, host numerous radio shows, have a successful career as a beat writer, and hosts the pre and post game shows for the Knicks on MSG Networks.
Hahn sat down with Seawanhaka for an interview about his storied career and advice for journalism students.
You were a journalist with Newsday for 15 years, can you tell me about your start in the industry to becoming an award winning journalist?
Yeah, see my story's not relatable anymore. Because when I was graduating, I sound like such an old man saying this, it was 1993. And while there was internet, it's nothing like it is today. So there was no such thing as a website where you could be hired to cover things and write stories. There was nothing available, it was strictly newspapers, and even sports talk radio was barely five years old, like there wasn't really a big sports talk radio following going on. So you were very limited.
So back then, the feeling was always get into newspapers. It was very competitive. Even though I was in New York, it wasn't like there were lots of jobs available. So, you know, I played basketball at LIU at Post. And a lot of my time was focused on that. So it wasn't like I could also spend a lot of time doing internships or working at one of the big papers.
So when I graduated, it was literally cold calling starting from scratch, sending my resumes everywhere. But yeah, I had nothing on the resume, there was nothing to show them other than the student newspaper at LIU Post, called the Pioneer. And I wrote for that, but that's, you know, it's not really gonna get you too far.
So my first job was at a weekly on the east end of Long Island. And I just did a little bit of that. And my start at Newsday came, essentially, two years after I graduated. I mainly got the job because I was in the paper as an athlete, and the high school sports editor recognized my name as such. So her response was, oh, yeah, I remember you. And they just sort of was like, Yeah, we have this clerk position, which, I mean, I'm telling you, it's so glamorous, you answer phones. And high school coaches tell you what their score was of their soccer game, and give you the goal scores, and you typed it into this tiny little two, three lines, you got no credit for it. And away it went.
So it was a start, right. It was a part time job at Newsday. And that's what it was, but it didn't pay a lot. You didn't get any by lines. So you're just grinding. It was that, it was writing freelance for anything I could find, just to get the experience. They warned you ahead of time, you don't get hired as a part time. You gotta go somewhere else first. You know, there's no way you get a pro beat as a part timer. So you just always knew, okay, I'll do this and meanwhile, still sending out resumes.
Now instead, it's like once in a while, they'll throw you a bone and go cover a high school game. So you get a 300-word story with your byline here, a 300-word story there, but not a lot of things. And, you know, little by little, that's all you're doing. And I did that for a couple years. And I kept sending out resumes.
I was about to get a job in Birmingham, Alabama, covering Alabama football and basketball. I mean, my first real break, and I'm ready to take the job. And when I told Newsday, I was leaving to take this job, they told me don't, that the islanders beat was open, and did I want it. So that was of course, stunning news, because that wasn't supposed to happen.
They don't hire and they told everybody this. I had friends of mine who were part timers for years who quit, because they just knew they were never gonna get a chance. They just went into some other business. And so I was like, of course I want it. I mean, at the time they were like, an embarrassing franchise going through ownership changes and all kinds of stuff. They you know, they're not the team they are today. This was back in the mid in the late 90s. They were an abomination. I mean, it was there, their owner, one of their owners went to jail for fraud, like it was that bad. So I took it because why not? And, you know, that's really where it started. So it took five years.
Today, you have so many things, you have podcasts or the ability to write your own blog, social media where you can put out a lot of stuff you do. Back then, it was a mosh pit, you had to fight, you had to persevere, you had to be able to survive not making a lot of money. I mean, honestly, you didn't get much money at all. I lived my parents. So it was a lot of that. So it's a long story. I wish it sounded a lot more dramatic. But it legit was, I waited around long enough to become the first person to ever go from part time to a full pro beat at Newsday. Essentially what happened.
What advice would you give for people wanting to break into the industry?
The advice I generally give is patience is a virtue. It's the hardest thing to have. But it's the most valuable thing to have in this business on many levels, not just patience to wait for your opportunity, it's not really just about that.
It's also the patience of, alright, this is not an important, big story in my eyes. But it's my opportunity to show what I can do. So I'm going to cover it and make it the biggest thing I can. So instead of being impatient with, 'I don't want to cover this, this is not what I'm into.' You understand that it's a way to show you can do and hone your craft and get better at being a writer or better as somebody who's covering something. And you learn all that so that when your big opportunity comes, you're ready for it.
So the patience of the process, like athletes you cover are doing the same thing, you have the same mentality of the grind, of the process and the idea of like, these small steps that I'm doing when nobody's watching, lead to doing big things when everybody's watching. Everybody wants it right now, 'I want to graduate college and my very first job I want to host Sports Center'. It doesn't happen like that, reality is that's not going to happen.
So be patient with the process, but grind, because the guys you're covering are doing the same thing. I always say no job too small. My very first byline in Newsday was high school badminton. That's it, they asked me, 'we need somebody to go cover this badminton match.' And I was like, 'I'm on it.' Now, you know, again, most people would say 'badminton? Who cares, who's reading that story? Only their parents are reading that story.' But you don't think of it that way, you think of it as I'm going to make this as if I'm covering game seven. You put that kind of energy and effort into a preparation into it, and you'd be amazed, it can just lead to an editor reading and go, 'Hey, you did a good job. You know what? Now do this one. Now do this one,' and you understand how that works. But if you're somebody that's like, 'I don't want to do that, oh, I don't feel like doing that, oh, there's nobody watching. There's nobody reading this, who cares?' If that is your attitude you're never going to be good. You're never going to learn how to cover things. So when it is all of a sudden, you're assigned to cover game seven, you're ready for it. Because you know how to put in everything, the energy and the effort and all that.
It's the patience of the process to know that it's not going to happen for you immediately. And that's okay. Because the most important part of getting to where you want to be in this business is the journey to get there because that's what makes you really good. Why is Bob Costas who he is? It's not because he covered the World Series right out of the gate. He didn't. It's because he along the way just learned things, made mistakes and just got better and better and better to a point where you just so comfortable that you know your voice you're confident with yourself.
How did the jump happen from writing about sports with Newsday to being on the air with ESPN and MSG Networks?
When I was your age, if you said to me, 'Hey, you're gonna be you're gonna host a show, a national radio show, you're gonna host a national TV show, and you're also going to be on MSG, on the Knicks broadcast,' I laugh at you like, you know, there's no way.
If you said to me, 'Oh, you'll be a beat writer for 30 years,' yeah, I can see that. That's what I wanted to be when I was 19. But if you told me all this other stuff, I'd laughed at you like 'what? Yeah, okay.' Because I hated my own voice. I was afraid of the camera, I had no skill set whatsoever to do these things. But life becomes an adventure. And it's always about well, this opportunities here, let me try that.
So as I mentioned, the beat writer thing opens up and that was my wheelhouse, I was comfortable in it. I always wanted to be it. So I was ready for it based on watching others and what they did, observations, reading my favorite people. It's all the things that you need to do so you're ready for the job when you get it. But what I didn't see was how the business started to change, where more and more radio stations would rely on a beat writer for input. And so I would get calls from FAN and from ESPN Radio and you know, "can you come on and talk Islanders, Can you come on and talk Jets, Can you come on and talk Knicks?' Yes. Sure, yeah. And you know, I would bring it like, because, as an avid listener of sports talk radio you understand what they are looking for. And so you bring it, you bring information, you tell them stuff, and they love it. So they better want you back. So the more your voice is out there, the more you become more of a recognizable name.
So ESPN Radio came about because I was going on as a regular guest, after Knick games with a host who had a show on at night. And because at the time the station was right across from the garden, I will just go right up and sit in the studio. First we were supposed to only do first segment. And then it's like, 'do you want to stay and take calls?; Like, yeah, let's do that. So I would stay for two segments, which is generally a half hour. And then, you know, a couple of times, I'd stay for the rest of the hour. Then one time, one of the program directors just said to me, 'I like the way you sound, do you want to do a show? And I thought, sure, so somebody else is hosting, and I'm just coming in as a second guy. They they thought, oh, he can only talk in NBA. And then when I started interjecting about baseball and throwing in some stuff about football, they're like, oh, okay, so you pay attention. The funny story is, it was a Sunday night. And I come in and do his show, and I came in, and I thought, once again, I'll just be the second guy, and there'll be a host. And I'm sitting there and I'm waiting. And I'm waiting. And I looked at the producer, finally I'm like, so when is the host coming in? And he's like, You're the host. I'm like, No, I'm the co host, like, who's the host? He's like, no, no, there's only one person on the show tonight. It's you. I was like, Holy crap, like, I was freaking out, like, wait a minute, I'm not ready for this. So I sit down, and I'm telling you that first 10 minutes, I was sweating. And I didn't have anything left to say, I ran out of things to say. Some things just happened, like adventure. And that's literally what happened when it comes to the transition.
While going from a writer to pre and post game on MSG had been done before. So it was a little bit more of a natural thing. Radio is a completely different animal. And it does take a long time to figure it out. I didn't train for any of this, I never went to broadcasting school, I was a journalism major. So I had to learn it on the go.
How do you balance your different roles across ESPN and MSG Networks? Is it like having two jobs?
Yeah, it's definitely that it's two different personalities. Two different mindsets, it's two different everything. And that's, that's a huge difference. I's coming up here for me, from October until at least April, if we're lucky, May, that I have not only my radio show during the day, but then again to do at night. It can be mentally exhausting.
Some may say "Give me a break. It's not real work." No, it's not, but it is mentally. It's a lot of preparation, its a lot of things to remember, and it's a long day. I'm in the city by 10am. And a lot of times when the Knick game is over, it's 11 o'clock. It's 12 hour day, where you're in the city and you don't go home and you go from one spot to another and you know, it's a lot information to jam in your head, especially if it's football season on radio, and then you're doing a game at night that is strictly basketball. And you've got to be an expert on both, you can't slip. On Twitter, you make one slip and people are like "you're supposed to be an expert. You don't know anything." Meanwhile I just had to memorize the offensive line of the Indianapolis Colts, but forgive me for forgetting who made a shot in the second quarter. That's just the life but it's also energizing.
When you love what you do, you don't consider it work. So the Knick thing when I get there, it's more of a passion, like I'm into it. It's not hard for me to remember things or recall things or care enough to come up with an angle or a segment.It's a lot of preparation, it's a lot of work. But this is what drives it. This is why people like us want to be in this business.
During your career you’ve covered many different sports and to this day you still cover multiple sports, how do you manage staying on top of what’s going on in various leagues and staying informed?
You take like a week off, you go away somewhere and try to disconnect, you feel like you've missed 10 years of information. It's very difficult. It really is.
What I've learned is, you're never going to be an expert on everything. You gotta have just enough information to know either what questions to ask, or to know when this is a story, where do I go to get the tip, so I can go a little bit deeper, those resources that are important. So there's certain websites if you need statistics, obviously. And then because I'm fortunate enough to work at ESPN, they provide you with so much content. There's a whole stats and information group that provides an incredible amount of data and analytics, just different angles to discuss. Whatever happened in last night's Monday night football game, they'll break down the most important things, so you can use them as talking points. And you can email them and then they'll they'll provide you with what you asked. So it's that's the fortune of working at ESPN. At MSG, I have to do all that work myself. The NBA certainly provides a lot of great data for you there. We are around the team 24/7, so to discuss one team isn't that hard when you know where to go to get what's going on. I watch back press conferences so I will put in that time either the next morning or that night before I go to bed and just watch everything that the coach said, everything that the players said. I might even watch back the fourth quarter if it was a close game. It's just a lot of your own time put into it and researching it.
You’re the author of five books, how long do you typically work on books, and how hard is it to maintain that research and writing along with having a full time job?
I've been wanting to do another book, but when I was a beat writer it was so much easier because you had so much downtime on road trips and every like that. My hockey books I wrote were during my time on the hockey beat. It was just a lot easier to do them. As for the Knicks books, they're both history books, it's certainly not To Kill a Mockingbird or something like that. I know exactly what those books are, they're fan books that you flip through, and you read about some history and some anecdotes, and it's not a ton of research. But it's still time consuming to write. And I like the craft, for 100 Things Knicks Fans Must See & Do Before They Die, I told myself, I'm going to write 100 blogs. That's essentially what I did, the book concept was 100 things.But it's 100 blogs, it's probably 100 days, like, that's a lot. So, you have to find that time.
And there'll be times where it's late at night, or on a rainy day, and in between things. I'm doing it in the car, when waiting for my son's soccer game to begin, it's just different parts of your life that you just say, I gotta get it done. But those are all labors of love, you don't get a lot of money for those books, they're not for that. I always wanted the experience of writing a book.
I did another one that's more of a hardcover history book where it was more of an illustration. So a lot of photos that also have stories in them. And that one is just pretty, it's a coffee table book. But it's it still a lot of writing. The first book I did was called Fish Sticks. I did that with another writer, Peter Botte, it was a good experience to work together. But the one that really took a lot of energy was Birth of a Dynasty. Because that was one where, it interviews, it was research, digging up things and just trying to make trying to tell a story about a Stanley Cup dynasty that everybody had forgotten about. It's an incredible story, really, but one that's really never been told and I tried to tell it dramatically. And that I put a lot of my energy into, that one was exhausting.
Those are time consuming, but there's nothing like getting the box and you open the box and you smell the new books, and you hear the crackle of the first book, it's the greatest thing.
What made you realize you wanted to become a sports journalist/broadcaster?
What I realized was, I wasn't good enough to play professional basketball. And it was one of those things that I wanted to be part of it somehow some way. I grew up with a newspaper, like in my life on a daily basis. It was delivered to our house, it was on our table, each day. Now, most people talked about getting the paper early in the morning, we actually didn't get our paper until the afternoon. And so I come home from school, and right away, I'm gonna flip the page over go to the back and, you know, what'd the Yankees do? The Jets? The islanders were in there all the time when I was a kid, because A, it was Newsday, B. They were just an incredible team.
And my mother says that I taught myself how to read by reading headlines. I just always had a thing for it. I had friends of mine who couldn't give damn, they didn't care. I had the paper and they're like, What are you doing? I'm like, I've reading the paper, and they make fun of me. So I just always felt it. My dream was to be in the paper as an athlete. And,I used to think that one day I'm going to be on that back page, and then you you play sports for a while and you realize, like, yeah, that's not gonna happen. So then it became let me see if I could still be relevant, or still do something connected to the sports world, because it just inspires me. Is that your story? What's your motivation?
I'll tell you the exact moment I knew. It was my first ever Knicks game. It was January 2017, against the Suns. I got the tickets to Christmas present. It was a close game. I remember. Carmelo Anthony had the ball, last second shot, it rolled around the rim rolled right out, and the Knicks loss. But I remember early on the game, I was just sitting there, way all the way up, like three rows back from the top, because we don't we didn't have courtside money or anything. I just remember being like, this is awesome. This is where I want to be everyday. It was my first time ever in the garden. It was seriously like so special. And I was just looking around, I was looking at all the different people there. I'm like, I want to be in this place every day in my life. I was thinking in that moment, all the different people that work there. And you know, I'm looking down at Mike Breen. And I'm like, you know, I want to be Mike Breen, one day. That was kind of my moment.
I love that, because I can relate to that. I can tell you a very, a very similar story, in fact, because that is literally something I experienced as well.
Same thing, I could never afford to go to a Knick game like I had. I got into the building once in high school to see St. John's play, and that was like somebody got tickets, and they just let us use them. So you know, and I'm in there, St. John's was playing, I couldn't care less about St. John's, I'm just looking at the ceiling like I'm looking around. So it just so happened somehow, someway. I don't even remember at this point, when or how I got the tickets. But I got tickets, and a friend of mine and I went and we sold the Knicks play the Bulls.
Now this is Michael Jordan. And everybody was hurt, it was late in the season. You know, everybody was hurt. So they started a guy that they drafted in the second round this Brian Quinnett. He started against Michael Jordan. So of course, before the game, and I'm like you I'm up in the blue section when there still was one. And when my back was literally against the cinderblock wall, I didn't care because I'm doing like you. I'm looking down all the way to the court. I see John Andariese who was an announcer for MSG. And John Andariese was like my idol. Like I looked up at him. He looks like he's have fun. He looks like he loves his job. Like, that's amazing. I thought it was cool to see all that stuff going on while the game was going on. Meanwhile, Brian Quinn has like 12 points at the half, Jordan has six, so he's out scoring them. And the Knicks are winning and I'm like this is amazing, Brian Quinnetts out playing Michael Jordan this is hilarious. Now what happens of course is Michael Jordan then goes off for like 40. But it was just being there, it was me. I was like I don't want to be a spectator. Like I want to be involved.
I had been in the garden now, a while, covering the Islanders, the Rangers, the Liberty, so I knew what it was like to sit courtside at the garden. All that stuff was amazing to me. But it wasn't until my first year covering the Knicks, I wasn't the beat writer yet, but I was covering the playoffs. And I walk in, and I remember thinking to myself, like, are you allowed on the court
And I'm seeing all these beat writers, all these guys have dirty shoes, and they're walking off the court and like, they shouldn't be going on the court man, like that's the Knicks court. It was just something about being there.
Now, again, I've done it a million times. But this was different because, you know, this court, I'd only seen on TV. Like, I'd never really stood on this court before.It overwhelmed me. And I said, I never want to lose this feeling. I never want this to become ordinary. And I'm telling you, and I'm not lying. This is the God's honest truth. Every time I walk in that building, I have that same feeling. I look up at the ceiling. Look at the court. And I just pause at the at the baseline and I just pause for a second like, this is cool. I am allowed to do this. That's why what I told you the beginning is important. You got to understand that, that feeling will come. But you can't rush it. Because what you don't want to do is scramble or grab that first opportunity, or whatever it is, or do something before you're ready to do it, screw it up, and then realize never coming back here again.
When you step out there, you want to say I'm ready. I'm ready for this. And that's that's important. I was on the floor when Carmelo Anthony was introduced for the very first time after the trade, I was the beat writer, I covered that trade. I was in LA for All Star Weekend. I was there for the Blake Griffin dunk contest when he dunked over that car. I was there for that that night. But all that day I spent in the hotel room, and then chasing Melo around LA, figuring out where he's going.
Flash forward now to that Thursday back from all star break, Knicks are playing the Bucks at the garden. I had done some stuff for MSG on TV before, but I would still a beat writer. And MSG said, we want you to be on the court when he comes out. And sort of just give us a report from court side of what you see and what you feel and just describe everything. And so here I am standing there holding this microphone, and I'm in the sold out Garden and I'm on the court. And there's nobody on the court. The Bucks came out in a few minutes, but for about 30 seconds, I'm alone on the court with 19,000 people (in the audience). All getting ready for this moment there was excited about. I'm talking about the anticipation and all that, and once the books came out, and then the lights went down, It was okay, time for me to stop, they go to the public address. Then they introduce each player one at a time until Carmelo Anthony. And I felt the floor shake. I mean, I'm talking about it was like a trampoline. It's bouncing, and I was like wow, like this is wild.
So when they throw it back to me I just like I can barely hear what Al (Trautwig) is asking me but I assumed he was asking me to describe it. So I'm just describing this thing all excited. And then I just stopped and I was like, You know what? I was like all I'm thinking about are not the people courtside, but the people that are all the way up there in the back with their backs to the wall, who, whatever it took just to be in this building to see this moment. Because that's what I think is pretty cool is everybody all the way back there. It's too dark for me to see them, but I know they're there. Because this means so much to them. And it struck a chord with a lot of people, like reacted to it on social media, but, I was ready for that moment.
So that's what I mean by patience. I can't preach it enough, because so many people that I talked to that are in your position. they all are like, you know, Oh, I do this, you know, I do Knicks blog and I do this Yankees YouTube page. And I go, oh, do you cover your college team? Don't waste your time with Yankees. No offense, nobody cares what you think about the Yankees, because you're not around them. All you're doing is giving an opinion. Cover your college team like they're the Knicks. Go to every game, write a story, put in the paper, get interviews. There could be no one reading it. It doesn't matter. Because it's your experience of writing something, and reading it the next day asking yourself is that a good story? Could it have done better? Is there more information to get? That stuff is so valuable, man, I can't tell you how valuable doing that is. Because you're making mistakes and nobody's watching you make them.
Has there ever been a moment in your career where you sat down and thought to yourself “I made it”.
Haha, no, no. Honestly, I think there's been more times I've sat down and said to myself, 'How did I get here?' I was hosting Get Up on ESPN one morning. And a makeup artist came over and started patting my nose. In my ear, the producers asking me about something that's coming up next. And I'm looking at the prompter as the script is loading up. And all this madness is going on around me. I've got former NFL players and former NBA players sitting to my left and right, waiting for me to lead them to the next segment. And in my head, I just went, 'Holy crap. Like, this is real. That's when I just sat there, and I thought to myself, 'How did I get here? Like this is this is pretty cool.' I was really enjoying it. And those are the moments I have. But never once have I said I made it. And I think the reason why is because I don't think I'm done. So I never want to feel like I made it because I don't think I have. I guess along the way you have those moments. The first time I got my own radio show. It was me and Rick DiPietro got a show together that was called Hahn and Humpty on ESPN Radio in New York. And when we left the meeting together, I was, kind of quiet like, wow, I got my first radio show. My name is gonna be on it. I was on a bus, my picture was on the back of a bus. So I was sitting there we were walking, we were on the marquee outside of Madison Square Garden, our show, our faces, my name. And I was so stoic. And he bumps me with his shoulder and he goes, come on, you can smile now. So, yeah, I've never said, wow, I've made it. But I have had those moments where I've kind of said, it's pretty cool.
Do you have a favorite moment or story that you’ve covered in your career?
The year the islanders made the playoffs in 2002. I was a beat writer, I'd covered them through some of the worst of times. And they hadn't made the playoffs in seven years. And to see the arena, which I mean, my first year on the beat, you could yell to people in the building, like, 'Hey, Joe,' because there was just 10-30 people maybe, there was nobody there. It was depressing. So to be in the building, and see the team clinch a playoff spot. And have you know, 16,000 people and it was just rocking. That was pretty cool. To get to cover this this moment, to get to write about it, to be the lead voice as far as the beat writer for Newsday, like Backpage? That was serious. That moment I told you about with Carmelo Anthony on the court, with him coming out in the building and the floor shaking, I'll never forget. I'll never forget what that felt like. Linsanity those post games were wild. Just imagine yourself watching all that going on, and then it's like, alright, we're on in 30 seconds. It's like, 'Wait, he just hit a game winner against Toronto, what do i even say this point?' That was so much fun. That was wild. So you know, those really stand out to me the most as far as moments to cover, those things for me personally.
Do you have a favorite current player in the NBA?
I really don't. And I think that's what happens to you when you get old. Because, a lot of these guys are way younger than you. There's people you appreciate, I guess. Steph Curry is somebody I really appreciate.I enjoy watching him play. I enjoy watching LeBron James play, it's just something special about when he plays. That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about at this point. I just really love greatness, but I love also watching a master at work. That's what you get a lot of times in professional sports, is you really can appreciate the masters when they've been around a long time. So those two guys in the NBA are the easy ones. And LaMelo Ball is somebody I'm watching because there's something special about him. And I want to see like, I'm not convinced, but I just want to see can he get where I think he could get. You know, like, I'm curious to see can he be that? Because there's there's something special he's got the "it factor" back there. I'm just curious.
How has journalism changed for you since you started writing for The Pioneer?
It's so dramatic. It's no longer just printed word. It's video, it's a website where you can put a video of your interview with somebody that you also are writing about. I's you doing an update on video that goes on the website. It's transitioned from I wrote a story on a glorified calculator that they call it the trash 80. A TRS 80 it was called. You typed it out, and then you use the payphone, which had these little suction cups that stuck to the phone, dialed into your office, it's sent through dial up, the story came up, and then they edited it. And then you were done. There's nothing to do. To now, it's tweet during the game, write your first story, send it. Then add quotes, send that one, tweet a little more about what was said postgame. Do a stand up video in the arena after you're done with your game talking about the game and what your story will have. Then write a blog later that night for the website and put some things that didn't make it into your game story. And then in the morning, get up and do it all over again. Go to practice, tweet some more. You're constantly providing content. Versus when I first started at the Pioneer, it was one story. And that's it. And if anything happened after I hit send, oh, well. So it's constant content now compared to back then where it was all based on when the paper came out.
You played basketball at LIU under the great Tom Galaezzi, can you describe yourself as a basketball player?
Not very good. Fake it till I make it kind of player. Unfortunately, I never really got to find out what I could be because it was about nine games into my first year I blew out my ACL. And I missed the pretty much the rest of the year, I tried to come back, and I couldn't do anything. And then my senior year, I tried to play a little more and I couldn't anymore. And that was at a time where an ACL tear was like a death sentence. There weren't really many people coming back from ACL at that time, and I just wasn't a super skilled player. I was more of a Johnny Hustle kind of guy. So once I lost my ability to run super fast and jump really high, there wasn't a lot else I could bring to the table. So it was time for me to focus on my, future and in the business we're talking about now.
What made you decide to attend LIU?
Well, you mentioned Tom Galeazzi. I wanted to play for him. He was a legendary coach, a great winner, the program won all the time. And I wanted to be part of that. And they had a journalism major, they had a communications division of school that I felt like served all the needs, it was the best of both worlds for me, and then it was close enough to home for me. I just was a bit of a homebody. Staying on Long Island appealed to me, but yet I could actually live on campus and be away from home. I lived further out on Long Island. So it still was a bit of a trip. But between playing for a guy like Tom Galeazzi who was a legend, and his team's were always in the tournament, in the conference championship, there was something appealing about being part of that kind of winning and then also having a beautiful campus that had a journalism major that fit my needs. It was perfect.
Have you been back to LIU since you’ve graduated?
I went to the post campus a couple of years ago and addressed all the athletes, they asked me to speak to the athletes in the field house, and I spoke there. But not, you know, not that often. I drive past it a ton.
Can you describe how LIU was when you attended?
I was at Brookville, I never went to the Brooklyn campus. So for me Brookville, it was just a beautiful campus. You know it was the Great Gatsby, loved it. I love the campus. I love fall mornings walking to class like that. That's the stuff I remember the most. And we played in a tiny little gym at the time, it was such a tiny little box gym. It was so small. But it was loud because it was small. So you'd only get a couple of 100 kids in there but it was fun. play there because it would just get rowdy. My memories are just mornings walking to class and just enjoying the campus. When you walk to class, walk through The Great Lawn, and there's just something on a crisp all morning, there's nothing better.