My father used to occasionally refer to me as, “my son, the Phi Beta Kappa sportscaster.” And, while that might on the surface seem to be a classic case of career oxymoron, my liberal arts education has actually helped a great deal in my professional success.
In my brief career in local news as well as my time at ESPN and BTN, my ability to write and think creatively has helped me differentiate myself from the masses. I’m quite confident I wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for my broad-based education—a fact I often emphasize to aspiring young sportscasters who ask me for advice.
I am living testament to the fact that a knowledge of the liberal arts can help you achieve anything you want to.
— Dave Revsine
By Kayla Meyers
Dave Revsine is the lead studio host for Big Ten Network, a national cable network that covers Big Ten Conference athletics. BTN was the first national network devoted to the coverage of a single collegiate athletic conference and is available in approximately 90 million homes nationwide. He is also the author of the New York Times and Boston Globe bestseller The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation, which was released in July by Lyons Press.
The Opening Kickoff focuses on college football between 1890 and 1915, a period that Revsine argues was the most important in the history of the game’s development. It was during this time, he contends, that the modern spectacle of the game began to emerge—the byproduct of a combination of factors, many of which were only tangentially related to football itself.
The sport’s rise was far from inevitable. College football, in many ways, was simply in the right place at the right time, quickly rising to the forefront of the burgeoning sporting consciousness. This was also a period of great controversy in the sport, mirroring the problems that continue to this day. Revsine explores early academic fraud, recruiting scandals, financial disputes, rules controversies, and injury crises—all of which will sound amazingly familiar to modern-day fans.
Revsine is a 1991 graduate of Northwestern University, where he majored in European history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. While at Northwestern, he served as a sportscaster for WNUR radio, providing play-by-play coverage for the school’s basketball and football teams.
Upon graduation, Revsine was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. While there, he played on the school’s basketball team. After returning from his year abroad, Revsine spent one year as a financial analyst at Chase Manhattan Bank before deciding to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a sportscaster.
Revsine did short stints in two small local markets (Sherman, Texas, and Rock Island, Illinois) before being hired by ESPN in 1996, where he remained for eleven years. While there, Revsine hosted a wide-variety of shows—including “Sportscenter,” “Outside the Lines,” “NFL Live,” and “Baseball Tonight.” He also hosted ESPN’s coverage of soccer’s World Cup in 1998 and 2006.
His primary focus, though, was in college sports. He was a college basketball and football studio host for ESPN and also provided play-by-play for college hoops. In addition, he spent six years hosting College Gameday on ESPN Radio.
He has also written extensively about sports, having been a columnist for espn.com and BTN.com as well as a contributor to The New York Times.
Kayla Meyers is a junior at the College of William & Mary majoring in American studies and English. William & Mary is home to the Alpha of Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.