'What you see is what you get' with Ohio State's Dan Wallenberg
OSU associate athletic director of communications 'just like anyone else'
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 23:11
Dan Wallenberg, Ohio State’s associate athletic director of communications, is in charge of handling what might seem like a constant media frenzy surrounding Buckeye sports.
His job — which includes working with football coach Urban Meyer and a men’s basketball program coming off a Final Four appearance — becomes more hectic as OSU sports move further into the national spotlight.
“As you get to the Final Four, there are more media to coordinate because there are less teams to cover in the tournament,” Wallenberg said. “When you are hiring a new football coach like Urban Meyer, basically every football outlet in the country wants information.”
The day-in and day-out demands from the media is something Wallenberg’s gotten used to. He has been the associate athletics director since August 2007 after originally joining the staff in July 1998 as the men’s basketball communications contact.
For some, Wallenberg’s gig might even seem like a dream job.
“Everyone always tells me how my job must be fun and it is,” Wallenberg said. “But it’s also work.”
When controversy consumes OSU athletics, Wallenberg plays a key responsibility dealing with the influx of media attention.
“His leadership during some of the department’s more troubling times within the past few years have proved Dan can handle anything and make sure his staff is prepared for anything,” said Kendra Willard, an assistant director for OSU’s athletics communications .
The work comes with a price, too.
“I go to work on weekends and holidays,” Wallenberg said, “and I don’t always get to leave the office at 5 p.m.”
Wallenberg, though, said he tries to find time to do the things he loves. He said he wakes up at 6:15 a.m, grabs his iPod and his dog and sits outside on his porch while he catches up on the morning news.
“I like being outside in the quiet of the morning,” Wallenberg said. “It’s my time to read the news. I like knowing what’s going on in the world.”
Besides keeping up with the news, Wallenberg also enjoys traveling.
“I like to go to Chicago and stay downtown. I grew up there and absolutely love it,” Wallenberg said. “I go about three times a year.”
He even likes to indulge in his grandmother’s home-cooked food.
“If there was one meal I could have for the rest of my life, it would be my grandma’s pasta sauce and spaghetti,” he said. “I love to grill too, but nothing beats grandma’s spaghetti.”
Wallenberg extends his knack for communicating to other people in his life, including his colleagues.
“Dan is a great communicator with both people inside our office and externally with media, coaches and other athletic department personnel,” said Brett Rybak, an assistant director for OSU’s athletics communications .
Even though Wallenberg’s career is immersed in sports, his wife, Laura Wallenberg, has never been a fanatic.
“I’ve never come home from a football game day to have the Hallmark Channel on,” Dan Wallenberg said. “But after the first game day this season, that’s what she was watching.”
Laura Wallenberg appreciates her husband’s sports enthusiasm, but also loves other characteristics about him.
“Dan is a pretty face-value guy and that is pretty cool,” she said. “What you see is what you get with him.”
Although many people might find Dan Wallenberg to be an interesting person, he insists that his job is the only thing that makes him unique.
“I’m just like everyone else,” he said. “I love to mow my grass, I like to work outside and I love to golf.”