Wisconsin Grad Scores Front Row at Tournament Time

As director of communications for CBS Sports, UW-Madison School of Journalism alumnus — and big Badger fan — Daniel Sabreen ’02 has a pretty sweet job: overseeing communications efforts for CBS Sports’ college properties (including the NCAA tournament and SEC football), as well as the U.S. Open Tennis Championships and the overall publicity for the cable channel CBS Sports Network.

Daniel Sabreen, Director of Communications, CBS Sports
Daniel Sabreen, Director of Communications, CBS Sports

This spring will be his eighth year involved with March Madness on CBS, and his role is to publicize programming, talent and production.

“March is a long month,” he says. “We’re hunkered down in our New York City studio watching basketball for most of it, starting this week with what is shaping up to be an exciting Big Ten Tournament.”

With NCAA tournament time quickly approaching, we asked Sabreen to tell us about his Wisconsin experience and give his predictions for the Badgers’ post-season.

How did you end up at Wisconsin?
I grew up in Westfield, N.J., and I have always been a huge sports fan. I knew I wanted to go to a college with a big-time Division I sports program, but I wasn’t enamored with any of the schools I was considering. Then my dad mentioned UW-Madison as a possibility after reading a newspaper article quoting a UW professor.

“I still can’t believe that part of my job includes watching a Badgers basketball game on CBS.”

I applied to have another option and was soon accepted. Coincidentally, one of my good friends from Westfield also got accepted. We visited Madison together and stayed with a friend of a friend who worked at the Statesider. After visiting Madison for a weekend, it was a pretty easy decision.

Favorite memories from your time on campus?
There are so many great memories from four years on campus at the best college town in the country. I lived by Langdon Street all four years, so I spent a lot of time at the Union Terrace, Helen C. White and State Street.

One memory that sticks out, especially during this time of year is March 25, 2000. That was the day the Badgers beat Purdue to clinch a trip to the Final Four. It was an awesome and unexpected run. I vividly remember running outside after they won, and seeing hundreds of other fans. No one quite knew what to do or how to celebrate. We were really all in shock. Instinctively, we gravitated toward State Street with thousands of other fans and ended up marching to the Capitol for an impromptu pep rally. That was a fun night on campus.

Your wife, Rachel, is also an alum. Have a good UW love story you’d like to share?
I actually met my wife in New York City in 2005. While we didn’t meet on campus, the Wisconsin connection was obviously very strong and made it a lot easier when I initially approached her at the bar where we met.

What keeps you going back to work every day?
I’ve now been working as part of the sports industry for over 10 years, and I never take for granted how lucky I am. I’ve had the opportunity to be part of some of the biggest events in all of sports, and it never gets old. Being such a sports fan makes it easy to be passionate about what I do. I still can’t believe that part of my job includes watching a Badgers basketball game on CBS.

Predictions for the Badgers’ post-season?
As one of our CBS Sports analysts likes to say, “Death, taxes and Bo Ryan.” What Bo has accomplished at UW-Madison is remarkable. This year’s team has shown that they can play with, and beat, the best teams in the country. This should be one of the wildest and wide-open NCAA Tournaments in a long time. Wisconsin is always a tough tourney team. I like their chances to make a run, and hopefully I’ll be seeing a sea of Wisconsin red this year at the Final Four in Atlanta.

Finally, why are you proud to be a Badger?
The common thread among Badger alumni is that they are all positive they were part of the best college experience possible. It’s an alumni base that is extremely loyal and has an extreme sense of pride. I make sure to always pack a Wisconsin T-shirt with me everywhere I travel, and inevitably, I always get a random “Go, Badgers!” from someone in passing.