Dale Eugene Hansen (born August 2, 1948) is an American sportscaster, who is currently the weeknight sports anchor during the 6 pm and 10 pm newscasts on ABC's Dallas affiliate WFAA. He also hosts Dale Hansen's Sports Special on Sundays at 10:35 pm, consistently one of the highest-rated local programs in Dallas-Fort Worth. His segment each night garners an audience of over 300,000 people. He also serves as the station's Sports Director.
Hansen began his career in Newton, Iowa as a radio disc jockey and operations manager at KCOB, covering the Newton Cardinals and the Newton Nite Hawks. He then went to Knoxville, Iowa to KNIA radio as News Director. After that he moved to Saint Cloud, Minnesota to KCLD radio. After that he got closer to his hometown of Logan, Iowa by working at a radio station he grew up listening to, KOIL in Omaha, Nebraska. He then took a job as a sports reporter at KMTV also in Omaha. Hansen then took his first job in Dallas at KDFW, which at the time was CBS's Dallas affiliate. He left KDFW and joined WFAA in 1983. Hansen was at 10 pm, and legendary anchor Verne Lundquist was at 6 pm, so WFAA had claimed them to be "Texas' Best Sportcasters."
Hansen made his reputation in 1986 when he and his producer, John Sparks, broke a story about a massive scandal involving payments to players on Southern Methodist University's football team. Hansen's reporting ultimately led to the NCAA canceling the Mustangs' 1987 season—the so-called "death penalty." His reporting of the scandal garnered him a Peabody Award for distinguished journalism, a duPont-Columbia Award, and several death threats.
Hansen became nationally and even internationally famous in recent years when his commentaries on matters such as racism and domestic violence were circulated widely on YouTube. A 2015 profile of Hansen at the now-defunct Grantland site noted that many viewers assumed Hansen was a former conservative, when in fact he has been politically liberal his entire adult life and his views have often clashed with the mostly-conservative Dallas fan base of the Cowboys and Mavericks (http://grantland.com/the-triangle/dallas-dale-hansen-sports-anchor-abc-television-nightly-news-dallas-cowboys-michael-sam-greg-hardy-jerry-jones/).
Thank God for Kids
Since 1983, Hansen has had a segment during "Sports Special" on the Sunday of the week before Christmas. He always shares a story of a child's death in the past year and talks about it before playing a video of clips from the 1980s of kids in Dallas. At the end is young Hansen with his own children. The video is played to "Thank God for Kids" by The Oak Ridge Boys. Hansen used the segment in 2011 to admit he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, in hopes that it would convince others to come forward.
Scholar-Athlete of the Week
Each week since 1988, Hansen introduces his scholar-athlete of the week, a high school senior or recent high school graduate who excels in sports as well as in the classroom. McDonald's then donates $250 (formerly $100) to the school in honor of the student.
Gay players in the NFL
In a February 2014 broadcast, Hansen delivered a commentary supporting NFL draft candidate Michael Sam coming out as a gay man. He contrasted Sam's homosexuality making players "uncomfortable", with criminal activity by other NFL players which is routinely condoned, and likened contemporary discomfort with gay players to white athletes' and fans' past discomfort with black players. He concluded saying, "I'm not always comfortable when a man tells me he is gay; I don't understand his world. But I do understand that he is part of mine."
The video, posted to YouTube, garnered a large amount of interest on social media. It also received attention from mainstream media, featured by the New York Daily News, CTV News, Newsweek, People magazine, and others.
Dale Hansen started in sports radio at KRLD 1080 AM in 1985 as the Dallas Cowboys color analyst, with Brad Sham as the play-by-play announcer. He served in this role until two games remained in the 1996 NFL season. A heated on-camera argument with coach Barry Switzer during 1994 training camp and subsequent friction between Hansen, Switzer and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones contributed to the split. Babe Laufenberg took over his spot.
Hansen joined KTCK 1310 AM ("The Ticket") in 1999 as a regular on its Dallas Cowboys post-game report after the games were broadcast on KLUV 98.7 FM. He also hosted a show from noon to 1 pm year-round, every Monday and another one-hour show on Fridays during the NFL season.
In May 2006, Hansen moved to KESN 103.3 FM (ESPN Radio's Dallas affiliate) from The Ticket, just as KTCK was named the new Dallas Cowboys flagship radio station. At KESN, he hosted "The Hour of Hansen" weeknights from 6–7 pm and also contributed to other programming, including the station's Cowboys pre and post-game shows.
Hansen has won many awards in his career, including: two-time Sportscaster of the Year by the Associated Press, four-time Texas Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, Best Sportscaster by the United Press International and Dallas Press Club, TV Personality of the Year by American Women in Radio and Television, and Best Investigative Reporter by the Iowa Associated Press. Dale was named Communicator of the year by the National Speech and Debate Association in 2019. Speechanddebate.com
Since 1989, Hansen has been in charge of the Dale Hansen Golf Classic. In 1990, Hansen joined with the Dallas Can! schools. However, he and The Hansen Foundation split from the 16-year partnership, as a result of lawsuits against each side totaling almost $700,000. Starting in 2007–2008, The Hansen Foundation sponsors $100,000 of scholarships for University of North Texas students, with the money coming from the annual Dale Hansen Golf Classic.
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- "Dale Hansen". WFAA. August 26, 2014. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- White, Neal (December 16, 2006). "Must see YV". Waxahachie Daily Light.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 3, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Dale Hansen (February 12, 2014). Hansen Unplugged: Celebrating our differences. WFAA. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
- Grenoble, Ryan (February 14, 2014) [12 February 2014]. "Texas Sports Anchor Delivers Jaw-Dropping Speech On Gay NFL Players (UPDATE)". Huffington Post.
- Caulfield, Philip (February 13, 2014). "SEE IT: Texas sportscaster Dale Hansen blasts Michael Sam critics". New York Daily News.
- "Watch sportscaster's powerful speech in defence of gay NFL prospect". CTV News. February 13, 2014.
- Walters, John (April 22, 2014) [13 February 2014]. "Dale Hansen Makes a Perfect Case for Leaving Gay Football Player Michael Sam Alone". Newsweek.
- Bender, Kelli (February 13, 2014). "Watch: Texas Sports Anchor Shows Support for Michael Sam with Powerful On-Air Speech". People magazine. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Nichols, James (February 14, 2014). "Dale Hansen, Pro-Gay Sports Anchor, Joins 'Ellen'". Huffington Post.
- Dale Hansen, Ellen DeGeneres (February 14, 2014). Hero Reporter Dale Hansen. TheEllenShow. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
- Horn, Barry (May 4, 2006). "Waters to join Sham in Cowboys' radio booth". Dallas Morning News.
- Horn, Barry (April 17, 2006). "Hansen headed to ESPN Radio". Dallas Morning News.
- "Dale Hansen Golf Classic". The 17th Annual Dale Hansen Golf Classic. Retrieved October 17, 2006.
- Blow, Steve (July 8, 2006). "Dallas Can! benefit spat gets spiteful". Dallas Morning News.
- "Hansen Foundation to give UNT scholarships". Dallas Business Journal. July 5, 2006.
- Hoffman, Teresa (August 30, 2017). "Love for Logan runs deep". www.loganwoodbine.com. The Twiner-Herald. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
- Goodwin, Wade (May 1, 2018). "Local Dallas Sportscaster Goes Viral For His 'Unplugged' Commentary". www.npr.org. NPR. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
- "Waxahachie Now" (PDF).