Let’s talk sports with ESPN’s social media editor

by Michelle Watson

With spring sports canceled for the year, everyone is in need of some athletic banter.  Who better to give everyone their fix than a hometown guy who has been rubbing elbows with some of the greatest college and professional athletes today?

Dean Berhow-Goll, a 2010 graduate of Ventura High School and a 2014 graduate of Iowa State University, is the senior social media editor at ESPN.  Berhow-Goll manages ESPN’s NFL coverage year-around and he creates content that goes to all Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.  He also creates content for ESPN, SportsCenter, ESPNNFL, ESPNCFB, College Game Day, SportsNation and a few show accounts, as well.

Berhow-Goll began his love of sports while attending Ventura Community Schools.

“I feel like I was encouraged and able to take part in a lot at Ventura.  I was involved in football, cross country, basketball, track, golf and baseball.  We weren’t, however, very good at baseball.  I was also involved in jazz/concert/pep/marching band and choir.”

He graduated from Iowa State with a journalism degree and was sports editor at the Iowa State Daily, covering football and basketball.  He was covering basketball during the Fred Hoiberg years, so he was happy to travel to postseason games.  He produced ISU TV, along with writing and editing for SIR Magazine.

“Following college I thought I had the world by the tail.  By the end of graduation I was waiting to hear back from interviews with ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and the Minnesota Vikings….I got zero of those jobs.  So I continued working at The Viking Drive-In, in Ventura, and living in my parent’s basement.  In October 2014, CBS Sports hired me as an NFL writer.”

ESPN reached out to Berhow-Goll in the spring of 2015 and he was hired in July.  He now lives in West Hartford, Conn. and works in the Bristol headquarters of ESPN.

Talking sports again is a nice break from social distancing and watching television.  Here’s a Question & Answer session with Berhow-Goll:

Q. What led you to choose this career?

A. I always knew I wanted to work in sports, ever since I was a 10-year-old writing on Minnesota Vikings message boards, arguing with grown men about why the Vikings needed to keep Randy Moss at all costs. Once I got to ESPN I was an editor for ESPN The Magazine, but quickly realized my future was going to be in social media. When I joined this team in 2016, our team might’ve been eight people total and now it is somewhere around 60-70 in Bristol, New York City, Los Angeles and Charlotte.

Q. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your job and sports in general across the nation?

A. I was working the night the NBA suspended its season and I can tell you it was one of the biggest moments in sports I’ve ever been a part of. Today I’m one of the extremely fortunate people who is still able to continue working, albeit remotely. We still cover the news as it happens, with leagues deciding how to proceed. There’s no doubt we’re being challenged creatively like never before to try and satiate the appetite of our fans.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

A. Without question, it’s been the ability to travel to events. I’ve shot social content everywhere from Monday Night Football, to College GameDay to the Pro Bowl, NBA playoffs, the NFL draft and even the NBA Finals (I may or may not have swiped a champagne bottle from the Warriors’ locker room after they won the 2018 championship).

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

A. Being so far from home and family. There’s a reason I’m home every year without fail for the Clear Lake 4th of July. The parade, the carnival, being on the lake and watching the fireworks, there’s just nothing better.

Q. What has been the biggest highlight of your career?

A. Two distinct things comes to mind. Being covered in champagne next to Steph Curry and Kevin Durant in their locker room after winning the title (Durant’s first). Or the next year, standing in the player’s tunnel with Durant after he’d injured his Achilles. He said he liked the Nikes I had on and we shared a short conversation about whether he was going to try and play or not. The very next game was when he fully tore his Achilles. I’ll never forget it.

Q. Who have been some of the athletes you’ve had the privilege to meet?

A. Kevin Durant, Patrick Mahomes, Steph Curry, Odell Beckham Jr., Stefon Diggs, Zion Williamson, Trae Young, Saquon Barkley, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Drew Brees, Randy Moss.

Q. What athlete made the biggest impression on you and why?

A. From a true interaction standpoint, probably Drew Brees at this year’s Pro Bowl. He signed every autograph he could long after practice was over. Then he shot a fun video with us and Adam Schefter’s daughter and had as much energy as he did when practice started. And after all that – he was throwing passes to his sons. A real father-son moment that was very humanizing. He’s a father first.

Q. What has been your favorite stadium/venue to visit?

A. The Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Falcons’ stadium looks like a spaceship that could launch into space. The night I was there for Monday Night Football they opened the roof too – it looked like something out of a movie.

Q. Of all the athletes you’ve met, who could you see being a real life friend and why?

A. Jamal Adams – safety for the New York Jets. We did an Instagram takeover at the Pro Bowl and a Disney Parks shoot with him and he was just pure energy. We rode a new Star Wars ride together and he was more scared than I was.

Q. What do you see yourself doing in the future?

A. I love what I do currently and want to continue climbing, but maybe down the road I’ll get the chance to work more with players first-hand and help improve their own personal brands.

Q. What has been the most disappointing thing you’ve witnessed in sports?

A. It’s either the Minnesota Vikings losing to the Falcons in 1998 on Gary Anderson’s missed field goal, or when Iowa State lost in the NCAA Tournament both years I covered them. Aaron Craft’s buzzer-beat three-pointer over Georges Niang in 2013 is still gut-wrenching to think about.  Also when they lost to the eventual champions, UConn, after Niang broke his foot in 2014. They could’ve won the title that year! Also gut-wrenching was when I was on the field at the Pro Bowl when the Kobe Bryant news came through.

Q. What has been the most positive/heartwarming thing you’ve witnessed in sports?

A sports highlight for me was when the Ventura Vikings went to State in 2009.  Other than that, I won’t limit it to a specific happening, but a general observance. When I’m able to see players put their guard down and just act like normal people – like the rest of us – that’s when I realize how special this career is.

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