Dan Hicks, Arizona ’84, has become one of the best-known voices of NBC’s Olympics coverage because he spends the Summer Games by the swimming pool, and his voice has been the soundtrack to Michael Phelps’ historic Olympic career.
“There’s nothing like the Olympics,” Hicks said. “Every time you do one, you know you’re in for unique drama, stories you don’t get in the routine of what you normally cover.”
Hicks, NBC’s go-to, play-by-play announcer for golf and Notre Dame football, broadcasted his 10th Olympic Games this winter. After calling the speedskating at his last three Winter Olympics, 2014 was Hicks’ first year covering alpine skiing.
“Every sport that I do is different,” Hicks said. “It’s got its nuances, little things you’ve got to know…the right vernacular.”
The decision to start calling alpine skiing came about after a conversation with his executive producer. Hicks had recently extended his contract with NBC, and there was a desire to give him a higher-profile winter event.
“I’d always looked at alpine skiing from afar,” Hicks said. “It fit my style, and I was excited to do it.”
So Hicks put in time to learn a new sport, studying up and attending World Cup events. By the time Americans like Bode Miller and Ted Ligety were ready to race down the mountain, Hicks was ready to call the action.
Hicks said he loves the Olympics because they offer “fresh stories.” He said fans get so emotionally invested in the athletes for such a short period of time.
“It’s my job as a play-by-play announcer,”Hicks said,“to introduce the country to these people they’ve never heard of, for the most part. It’s always such a blast to relate to the stories and then watch the success of these people.”
In addition to his taking on a new sport, these Winter Olympics also stood out for Hicks because of the location, which he said was a marvel to see.
Once the Olympics ended, Hicks had no breaks. He flew home on a Sunday, and was back on an airplane to cover a golf tournament in Florida the following Friday.
But even with his busy schedule, he still finds time to volunteer for SigEp.
Hicks said he enjoys that brothers often come up to him on the road to tell him they’re SigEps too.
“It’s a bond you have with everybody, and that goes for guys outside my chapter,” Hicks said. “That makes me proud, to have a connection.”
“When I see SigEps from the past, and I see the guys that I know, I think, ’Boy, these guys ended up being good people, good citizens, good family guys,’” Hicks said. “That’s when I think about [our cardinal principles]. I reflect back to the things we learned there.”
And this winter, thousands of miles from home, he witnessed some of those same traits on the grandest of athletic stages.
“I think that you see the same qualities in these athletes,” Hicks said, pointing specifically to their diligent work ethic. “You’re not going to make it to where these athletes make it without having them.”
Even with his busy schedule, still finds time to volunteer for SigEp. Hicks remains active with his local chapter and has worked with the SigEp Educational Foundation to help promote the undergraduate giving campaign, the Hoop of Steel Society.