As a student athlete, Dan was the starting wide receiver, then gained size and strength to become the starting defensive end beginning his sophomore year. At 6’5”/250 lbs/400 lb bench press/4.6 40-yard dash, Dan was projected as a #1 Draft Choice in a confirmation letter from Ron Wolf and Al Davis at the NFL Oakland Raiders.
Dan then suffered a paralyzing injury that cut short his football career. At the Raiders camp the year they won Super Bowl XV (1980- 81), Dan met with owner Al Davis, couldn’t pass a physical examination and later went to team physician Dr. Jobe at Centinela Hospital in Ingelwood, California. His 10% chance for recovery prognosis ended Dan’s NFL opportunity and validated what the other 15 doctors would conclude.
However, after inspiring the team, in later years Dan was awarded a Super Bowl ring which he proudly displays next to his State Championship ring from Morgan High School (1978) and his newest State Championship ring as a coach at Skyline High School in 2005.
Dan’s Speaking and Writing Career Begins!
As Dan recovered from his paralyzing football injury after doctors said he would not, he was asked to share his inspirational story with junior/middle/high school and college students and faculty and created one of the first ever motivational school assembly programs in North America.
Dan formed a group of four friends into a non-profit organization called “Tomorrow’s Leaders Youth” and traveled to schools in Utah. In 1981, Dan received a grant from the State Legislature and Office of Education to speak to every high school and junior high in the State of Utah. Streamlining into a two man show, Dan fulfilled this grant, which was renewed again in 1982! College convocations and teacher In-Service programs followed.
In 1981, Dan sold both of his businesses. While fulfilling his contract with the schools in Utah and strategizing on how to take his speaking career to the next level, Dan worked for a year in management and instruction at a mega “Sports Mall” which gave him exceptional experience in the corporate leadership/sales/customer service world.
Statewide to Nationwide
In 1982 Dan was sponsored into the National Speakers Association by world renowned motivational teacher, Zig Ziglar. Soon Dan was called into the Ronald Reagan White House to be the primary speaker in Nancy Reagan’s national “Just Say No” program and then into “Canada’s Pride” nationwide program. Dan was in the meeting when the “Red Ribbon Week” program was created that is still in our schools today and helped start the “National Federation of Parents For Drug Free Youth.”
In 1983, Dan had his first book, Getting High, How To Really Do It published and wrote and recorded his first album of songs. Dan finished the 1980’s with five published books, three albums of songs, a series of 20 posters, a “One-Minute-Messages” radio program and a 20 tape audio/video/workbook/study guide used by schools all over North America called “Born to Succeed.”
No One Better
From 1983 to 1993 Dan was the hottest and busiest educational speaker in the country as he spoke to 3 to 4 schools to an average of 5,000 students every day, five days a week for 150 school days per year, every year for ten years! Do the math! Dan spoke hundreds of times to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of students in all fifty states and all ten Canadian provinces.
Dan also keynoted the national conventions for all 16 National Student Leadership Organizations including Student Council, FFA, DECA, DEC, FBLA, PBL, TSA, FHA, 4-H, International Key Club, Hugh O’Brien, Junior Achievement and the others and spoke at every Region and State Conference!
Dan keynoted the National School Board Association, the National Association of School Superintendents, the American School Counselors Association, the National Elementary School Principals Association and most of their state affiliate Associations. Dan was known as the “Hilarious, Sensitive Football Player Who Sang” and often concluded his speeches with his emotional hit recorded with “Sun, Shade & Rain” called “I’ll Build You A Rainbow” or his powerful tribute song written for his dad called “Will I See You Again?”
From 1984 to 1987, Dan’s office was in Oklahoma City, where he teamed up with Leadership Development Institute. Among many other incredible publishing, speaking and convention services, “LDI” wrote the curriculum for and conducted eight, five-day, high school/college student leadership summer camps in five states, every summer for four years.
In 1987, Dan became the youngest member of the National Speakers Association to be awarded their highest earned designation: CSP – Certified Speaking Professional. CSP is the international measure of professional platform skill based on a Code of Professional Ethics, a consistent level of excellence ratings from satisfied customers and a minimum of five years as a committed, full-time speaker. Less than 10% of all the thousands of professional speakers worldwide hold this important, prestigious designation!
From 1987 to 1990, Dan had affiliate offices in North Pole, Alaska, Hurst, Texas, Oakville, Ontario Canada and in Stamford, Connecticut where Dan helped start the “Teen Life Center” still in operation today!