“Some Little Giant” is a phrase fit for Chris Denari ’83. An Indiana native, Denari graduated with the class of 1983 alongside his teammates on the 1982 National championship basketball team. During that time, he was an English major and a brother at Sigma Chi. Since then, he has remained invested in the world of sports, to the point of being voted 2022 Indiana Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association as the voice of the Indiana Pacers.
When I heard about this development at a recent meeting for The Bachelor, I jumped at the opportunity to write on this, as his line of work is where I hope to be when I’m his age. Fortunately, I was able to catch him with a phone call when he was on his way to a Pacers vs. Bulls game on Tuesday night to ask him some questions about how Wabash got him to where is today. His insights were what I needed to hear, and what I believe many today need to hear as well.
His first words of advice were to work hard. Denari made a National Championship run with the basketball team, focused on
staying involved in his fraternity, had the role of sports editor for The Bachelor, and headed the radio broadcast crew while in
his time at Wabash. While class was out of session, he would rise at 5:00 A.M. for his summer job mowing lawns and commuting to Indianapolis as an intern at a local television network. Many think of college as a time to have fun and get away from home, but as many Wabash men recognize, it is also the best time to stretch yourself. Hard work taught him to pay attention to how he wanted to spend his time and to manage his time efficiently.
This coincided with his second emphasis on creating your own opportunities. For each opportunity, role and job, he pushed the envelope. He knew what he wanted, and he did what it took to achieve it. And all that hard work paid off, as he said, “It gave me the confidence to pursue my goal. I always felt that if I got the interview, I would get the job.” He put himself in opportunities to learn, grow, and expand his repertoire so that when the time came, he would be ready. For him, this meant getting outside opportunities, utilizing connections and building his brand.
However, that didn’t come without some setbacks. When he was working in Indy at a television company, his boss came in one day notifying him and his coworkers that they were closing down the studio and that they were out of the job. “Sometimes you will be on top of the world, and the next day at the bottom.” But again, the Wabash methodology of hard work and creating opportunities prepared him to move forward. And he moved forward on many different occasions, switching from one job to the next, often not in his desired line of work, sportscasting.
But, as you now know, he did obtain his goal. He worked hard, put himself out there and persevered when the going got tough. And his driving force behind it all? A dream. He had a dream of calling basketball on live TV one day, and he did everything he could to achieve that. We Wabash men need to take to heart these same concepts of a strong work ethic, stretching ourselves and keeping at it. But we don’t just do these things just to do them. We have dreams. Dreams of winning national titles, building successful startups, owning law firms and becoming doctors, professors and civic leaders. Wabash Always Fights because we have something to fight for.
So like Chris Denari, dream big brothers!