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Alumni Spotlight
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Dane Brugler - Class of 2004

Why did your family choose Kennedy for your education?
It was important to my parents that my siblings and I were raised in the Catholic faith. From both a religious and educational standpoint, they wanted the best for us – something that I’m extremely grateful for. From St. Pius to St. Mary’s to Kennedy, Catholic schools helped shape my upbringing.

What is your favorite high school memory?
Probably my entire senior year. It was my first full year driving. The football team went deep into the playoffs. I had a good idea I would be attending Mount Union so some of the pressure was off academically. You start to appreciate things more when you’re near the end.

My senior year, the Tribune Chronicle did a story on “Kennedy’s Kipers” – an article on me and Adam Rossi and our love for the NFL Draft. It was pretty cool to be recognized for a hobby that I wanted to turn into my career.

Did you have a teacher or class that was a major influence on you?
Mr. Karrenbauer is a teacher I’ll always remember. I took three years of Latin, but his classes were always more about life lessons than anything. Whether it was politics, language history or the Cleveland Indians, his “sermons” were memorable. It would be hard to mention just one teacher though. Mr. Hoover. Mr. Spano. Mr. Domitrovich. There were several teachers who helped along the way. My senior year, Mr. Domitrovich had a journalism class that I really enjoyed. The chance to write about sports during school hours was right down my alley.

What career did you choose and tell us a little bit about how you got there?
When the Browns returned to the league in 1999 as an expansion franchise, I became enamored with the NFL Draft and the evaluation process. Since then, I knew I wanted to scout football and become the next Mel Kiper. I decided to go for it, and I have been blessed that I turned my passion into a career.

I worked for the football team my senior year at Mount Union and we had NFL scouts coming through Alliance to check out a wide receiver named Pierre Garcon. It was my responsibility to show them around campus and the football facility, which helped start my network in the scouting world. Several of those scouts took me under their wing and gave me an informal scouting education – and they’re still mentors for me to this day. After college, I moved to Texas and was the PR manager for a minor league baseball team, I worked for the Super Bowl and Final Four. Meanwhile, I continued to do my draft coverage on the side and that blossomed into a media career.

Last summer, The Athletic was looking for someone to lead their NFL Draft coverage. At that point, I had established my voice in the industry, and I was honored that they pegged me for the job. I’m now entering my second year with the company and recently signed a long-term extension, which is exciting because I see The Athletic as the modern-day Sports Illustrated. But instead of receiving a magazine once a week or once a month like when I was growing up, readers receive premium content every day online or on the app.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

From warming up Roger Staubach on the field prior to his first pitch at a Texas Rangers’ game to taking my wife and two kids to Barnes and Noble to see my book for sale on the shelves, I’ve been blessed with opportunities that I will cherish the rest of my life.

But in terms of accomplishments, I’d have to say – and this sounds tacky – the self-satisfaction that I figured out how to get paid to do what I love. I trusted my instincts and chased my passion. I knew it was a gamble because there is no clear path to scouting, not to mention a very limited job pool. But I continued to set goals and worked my tail off to achieve them. There were certainly mistakes and moments of doubt along the way, but that just makes it sweeter when you overcome them.

I’m not a journalist or a reporter. I’m just a guy who likes to analyze and talk about football. Whether I’m on a scouting trip or studying film in my office, I get to watch football all day, every day and write about what I see. I have several radio and podcast deals in various markets around the country and my annual NFL Draft Guide gains more and more popularity every year (with both fans and teams around the league).

I’m excited to see how far I can take this. I’ve grown to enjoy the interaction with fans on social media. I was surprised when I reached 100 followers on Twitter (@DPBrugler). Now, I’m close to reaching 100,000 followers.

What is a specific piece of advice you would give to a Kennedy senior?
Your life will never go according to plan, but the most successful people are adaptable and allow for serendipity in their lives. And learning to embrace that adversity will make you fearless.  

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