I first heard of Dan McGowan, aka Danny Mac, at Cornfed’s home bout vs. The Naptown Warning Belles back in July 2016. Danny came to Muncie to announce the bout and I distinctly remember how excited and passionate he sounded when announcing the game. He knew how to describe what was happening on the track in a way that was audience-friendly, and he had a genuine love for the sport in his voice.
Now, seven months later, he is the new head coach of the Cornfed Derby Dames. That same enthusiasm, passion, and love for roller derby has resonated with every Dame and has been instrumental in this new role.
Cornfed is super lucky and thrilled to be getting to know Danny Mac better, and we want you to as well! Read below about Danny’s transition from announcer to coach, his passions, and, of course, his resistance to calling helmet cover “panties.”
Where did you grow up? Cincinnati, Ohio
Who inspires you? My mom and dad, my smokin’ hot wife Lisa, and the CFDD players, coaching staff (shout out to Tommy Gunz, Emily, U.S. Amee and Breckin U Down) and Practice Committee (shout out to Breckin, fOWL Play, Frida Brawlo and J.J. Baberams).
What is your day job? I am the senior writer/reporter for Inside INdiana Business, a multimedia news outlet focusing on statewide business stories.
What drew you to roller derby? The intensity, comradery, and the idea that players pay to play and the organizations are run by dedicated volunteers.
How did you become a member of the derby community? I fell in love at first sight while attending the first Naptown Roller Derby bout in Indianapolis in 2007. My co-worker (Peyton Slamming of NRD fame) and I launched an audio podcast for the team soon after. It morphed into a live audio stream, then a one-camera video stream, and is now a full-blown multi-camera production.
How long have you been announcing? What do you like about it? I’ve been announcing roller derby since 2007, but I’ve announced many other sports at various levels since 2001. The best part is being able to enthusiastically tell the story of the sport to people throughout the world.
What has it been like transitioning from primarily announcing to coaching? I have always been in awe of the skills and magic displayed by players, but to take a more active role in how that transpires has ramped up my level of respect. These team members work their rear ends off day-to-day and I am just trying to do my best to stay anywhere near their level. Coaching has been one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever taken in my life, but it’s been terrific because of how much I love this organization.
What is the most rewarding part of coaching? Getting a first-hand view of passionate, hard-working players as they accomplish things they had no idea they could. My jaw drops on an almost daily basis observing the dedication of Cornfed skaters.
What do you do when you’re not at practice? I work a lot (I actually love my job) and have a great group of family, friends and friendfamily with which to watch crappy movies, play board games (*snorts, pushes up glasses*), and search out great Indiana beers.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about being passionate. It sucks when people are negative or not that into things, so if I’m involved with an activity of any kind, I invest all that I can into it.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to become a skater, NSO, ref, volunteer, or coach? Show up and do the things that need to be done, but others aren’t doing/won’t do. There’s always a spot for those that work hard and display joy.
Where did your hatred of the word “panties” come from? Hatred is a strong word and, I think, a mischaracterization. I would say “immaturity” or “insecurity” with the word would be more accurate. My default maturity level is that of an 11-year-old, so I actively avoid the word (very commonly used to talk about helmet covers in roller derby) so as to not giggle like a fool. Go ahead… say the word out loud without laughing. I bet you can’t do it!
Come see Danny coach his first bout on February 26, at Gibson’s Skating Arena-2610 S. Mock Ave. The CFDD All-Stars will take on the Derby City Rollergirls All-Stars (Louisville) and the Muncie Missfits will be playing the Derby City Rollergirls’ Bourbon Brawlers.
Doors open for the double header at 1 p.m. with a 2 p.m. start time for the All-Stars game. Tickets at the door are $12 per person (cash or card) or $10 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets or from any Cornfed Derby Dame. College students are just $8 with a valid ID and children ages 10 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket (limit two children).
Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are available at the concession stand. A portion of all bout proceeds this season will benefit Muncie OUTreach. Hope to see you there!