Hicks and Hannah

As the voice of NBC Sports for nearly a quarter century, Dan Hicks is a well-known sportscaster.  But he may not even be the most famous broadcast journalist in his own house.

Born in Tucson, Arizona, on this date in 1962, John Daniel Hicks grew up in the “Old Pueblo.”  His father James was a business operations manager for Hughes Aircraft and his mother Diane worked as a travel agent.  Hicks knew he wanted to be a sportscaster since he was a boy, telling his mother at nine that he was going to work for NBC Sports.  He attended Sabino High School—alma mater of barbershop magnate Jimmy Valenzuela—on Tucson’s northeast side, graduating in 1980.  Hicks attended the University of Arizona, where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and served as PA announcer for Lady Wildcat volleyball and U of A baseball.  In summer, he would attend Tucson Toros minor league baseball games, calling the action from the bleachers into a portable tape recorder for his own edification.  As a junior, he went to work for the Arizona Daily Wildcat.  After graduating from U of A with a journalism degree, he stayed in Tucson, working briefly in radio before becoming weekend sports anchor for KVOA-TV, the NBC affiliate. At 26, he moved to Atlanta to work for CNN, hosting the weekend edition of Sports Tonight as well as college football and basketball preview shows.  While at CNN, Mr. Hicks met Hannah Storm, who had also joined the network in 1989.  Storm was the first female host on CNN Sports Tonight—replacing Dan Patrick, who left for ESPN–and she and Hicks sat at adjacent desks.

Hannah Lynn Storen was born in Oak Park, Illinois, eleven days after Dan Hicks entered the world some 1,700 miles away.  Her father, Mike Storen, was an executive with the Chicago Zephyrs when Hannah was born and later served as Commissioner of the ABA [Daily Dose, May 13] and president of the Atlanta Hawks.  After attending Westminster Schools in Atlanta—alma mater of actors Ed Helms and Brian Baumgartner from The Office–Storen enrolled at the University of Notre Dame, studying political science and communications while working for WNDU-TV, the NBC affiliate in South Bend.  Upon graduation in 1983, she found a job as a disc jockey for a hard rock radio station in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she took her on-air name “Storm,” and would “crank Quiet Riot and just dance around the studio.”  Six months later, she moved to Houston, hosting Rockets and Astros halftime and postgame shows in addition to her duties as drive-time sportscaster at KSRR 97 Rock.  Storm worked as a weekend sports anchor in Charlotte, North Carolina for two years before making the leap to CNN in 1989.

In May 1992, NBC lured Hannah Storm from CNN.  One month later, they hired Dan Hicks, who said, “At the time we were hired, they didn’t even know we were an item.”  NBC soon found out, and Hicks and Hannah were married on the Upper East Side of Manhattan January 8, 1994.  Hicks called his first U.S Open from a tower at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island in 1992.  Eight years later, he took over for Dick Enberg [Daily Dose, May 11] as the voice of golf for NBC, where he was paired with Johnny Miller.  In his early years at NBC, Hicks worked mini-regional NFL games that were watched by few.  Since 2013, he has called Notre Dame football, one of the network’s most popular telecasts.  Mr. Hicks has covered Winter Olympics, including speed skating and alpine skiing, and co-hosted the closing ceremonies in 2014.  He served as late night anchor for the 2004 Summer Games and has been, with Rowdy Gaines, the voice of Olympic swimming since 1996, calling some of the most important and exciting races in the history of the sport.  Dan Hicks does superb impressions of Tom Brokaw, Bob Costas [Daily Dose, March 22] and Richard Nixon.  At his and Hannah’s wedding reception, he treated guests to his Frank Sinatra routine.  John Daniel Hicks was named University of Arizona’s Alumnus of the Year in 2013 and will be broadcasting the Olympics from Rio in the summer of 2016.

From 1992 to 2002, Hannah Storm hosted four Olympics for NBC.  She has covered the NBA, NFL, figure skating, and was the first play-by-play announcer for the WNBA in 1997.  Storm is the first woman in American television history to serve as solo host of a network’s sports package, hosting Major League Baseball from 1994 to 2000.  She anchored NBC’s coverage of Wimbledon, French Open [Daily Dose, May 26], Notre Dame football and U.S. Open golf.  In 2002, Storm moved to CBS News, anchoring The Early Show.  She covered the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina and politics.  Storm interviewed Elton John, Barack Obama, Tiger Woods and Jennifer Anniston, wrote a daily blog, and hosted shows for 48 Hours.  In 2008, Ms. Storm joined ESPN, serving as co-host of the weekday edition of Sportscenter as well as hosting coverage of Wimbledon, the New York City Marathon, Rose Parade, NBA Finals and the ESPYs.  She co-anchored daredevil Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk across Niagara Fall for ABC News, has served as a correspondent for 20/20 and has contributed to E:60 and Outside the Lines.  Hannah Storm also produced Unmatched, the story of the Chris Evert-Martina Navratilova rivalry for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.  She has written two books, started the Hannah Storm Foundation—which funds a journalism internship at Notre Dame and provides treatment for children suffering from disfiguring vascular birthmarks–and is a pioneer in the field of sports broadcasting for women.

Dan Hicks and Hannah Storm are too of the most accomplished figures in sports journalism.  Hicks is masterful as Johnny Miller’s sidekick on NBC’s golf coverage and his work covering the Olympics—particularly swimming—is second to none.  Thanks to Hannah Storm, female sportscasters are commonplace today.  Together, they are the “First Couple” of televised sports coverage.   Hicks and Hannah have three daughters and live in Greenwich, Connecticut.