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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Dan Dickau talks at-home sports, game analysis and his ‘clothes mullet’

UPDATED: Mon., March 1, 2021

By Justin Reed For The Spokesman-Review

The last 365 days has seen an increase in pajama pants – or less – during working hours.

With Zoom and other virtual meeting sites recording astronomical increases in users because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to work from home has followed suit.

Speaking of suits, former Gonzaga University guard Dan Dickau is no stranger to the suit and tie getup, seeing his broadcasting career take off over the past few years.

Now a regular color analyst for ESPN, CBS Sports, the Pac-12 Network and Westwood One, Dickau has spent many hours in his home office with wires looping in and around his desk and a camera in his face.

Key is the fact that the camera focuses on his face and his still-famous, albeit less moppy, hair because Dickau has taken full advantage of the whole “make yourself comfortable” aspect.

On Jan. 30 before he called the George Mason vs. St. Bonaventure game, Dickau was caught by his wife Heather wearing a button-up shirt, a CBS sports jacket and shorts with no shoes on.

She calls it his clothes mullet – business on the top and party on the bottom.

“The first couple games, I at least wore slacks. … And then one day I was finally like, ‘you know what, they don’t see anything above the mid-chest up, I’m just going to wear shorts,’ ” he said.

She then showed him the photo that she snapped during his production meeting and it inspired him.

“I was like, ‘All right, well, I’m going to rock it that way the rest of the year.’ ”

Calling games from home has led to a complete shift in the way Dickau has had to analyze. From the delay in seeing the game on TV, to trying to minimize talking over the play-by-play person, to making sure he is able to properly identify players, it all has been new.

For the CBS games from home, he has added a large monitor to watch the game, a camera, lights, a laptop that shows him what the producers see (replays and graphics), and another laptop off to the side to track live stats.

“I think it’s gotten better over the course of the year, because I think everybody’s gotten more comfortable calling games that way,” he said.

He and Rich Waltz – his main running mate on CBS for the past three seasons – have figured out that using FaceTime during the broadcasts helps immensely. It allows for them to see each other talk without a delay and keeps them from talking over each other.

One instance in which Dickau misinterpreted a situation was earlier on in the season during a Boise State basketball game. When one of the Broncos’ best players, Derrick Alston Jr., was pulled early in the second half, Dickau thought it was because of foul trouble.

“I made a comment on the air like ‘Well, Leon Rice (BSU’s head coach and former Bulldog assistant) pulled him too soon with fouls, he needs to let him go a little bit.’ ”

Around 1 a.m. after the game, Rice texted Dickau saying he watched the replay and said he pulled Alston because he was tired and asked for a sub.

“Had we been on site, I would have been able to see Derrick Alston asking for a sub or seeing him breathing real hard on the bench and the interaction between Rice and his player,” he said.

His first in-person call with Waltz and CBS was GU’s game Thursday against Santa Clara. For the first time all season, he was able to feed off some energy in the building because the university was able to have fans in the Kennel.

He has called a few games inside the McCarthey Athletic Center with his longtime pals Greg Heister and Richard Fox for KHQ, but it hasn’t been the same without the GU Kennel Club deafening them from behind.

The energy that fans produce has been missed by commentators – forcing them to manufacture their own.

“My kids have actually made comments when the game is over,” Dickau said. “They’re in the other room watching TV or whatever, ‘You were loud, Dad, you were screaming tonight.’ You have to provide your own energy as a broadcaster in that setting similar to what the players are doing.”

Working from the comfort of one’s home has led to a few hilarious bloopers on the internet, from kids walking into the video call to absurd noises wrecking meetings.

Dickau was potentially seconds away from trending on Twitter when his 2-year-old daughter Josie wandered her way into the office right into the middle of the live broadcast.

He usually blocks the door to keep people from walking in on him, but this time he had forgotten the blockade.

“Luckily, it wasn’t an on-camera shot, it was during the middle of the action,” he said. “I hear her, so I press the ‘cough’ button, which basically mutes my microphone, to start telling her ‘sweetie, you gotta get out.’ ”

His wife already was on the rescue mission, army-crawling across the carpeted floor, swooping up Josie and sliding out the door just as swiftly and quietly.

“I’m just grateful the college basketball season is going and that I’ve been able to be a part of it this year and call as many games as I have,” he said. “You know, I’ve had a chance to call some really good games from home, had a chance to call games of teams that I probably wouldn’t have and called games this year from back on the East Coast like VCU, St. Bonaventure.”

Dickau’s next call is a Mountain West clash between Boise State and Fresno State at 4 p.m. Tuesday on the CBS Sports Network.

Will he be in his clothes mullet?

Viewers at home will never know – but yes would be a safe bet.

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