ESPN remembers Dan Shoemaker

Dan Shoemaker (Travis Bell/ESPN Images)

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dan Shoemaker. Formerly an ESPN vice president of collegiate development, Dan dedicated more than three decades to the industry, including 20 years at ESPN from 1994-2014.

Dan was previously the Senior Director and General Manager of ESPN’s West Virginia satellite office before moving to Charlotte, where he managed ESPN Regional Television (ERT)-West Virginia’s new business as well as production and operations. ESPN Regional Television has since become ESPN Events.

A key figure at ERT, Shoemaker played an integral role as the division grew into the top syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences.

Shoemaker was also instrumental in the creation and acquisition of more than 20 events owned and operated by the company, including postseason college football bowl games, multiple-team men’s college basketball events, as well as other events, including a college lacrosse tournament, and more.

“Dan played a critical and major role in the success of our business in college sports,” said Senior Vice President, College Sports Programming and Events, Pete Derzis, a longtime friend of Dan. “He was respected and always took the time to serve as a mentor. He cultivated wonderful relationships in the collegiate space, and his love of his alma mater, the Marshall Thundering Herd, was evident to all he knew him. He will be missed.”

Throughout his career, Dan directed and produced over 1,000 collegiate games. The Huntington, W.V., native earned a degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in administration from Marshall University. A former chemistry and physics teacher, he also coached high school baseball and football. He was inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1994.

He was one of only a handful of ERT employees who worked with the company when it was known as Creative Sports (1989-1994), which ESPN acquired in May 1994.

“Dan took his educational background, and with research, diligence and work ethic, translated it into, of all things, a broadcast syndication startup – and, in of all places, Huntington, West, Virginia,” Stos Hall, ESPN coordinating producer and another longtime friend of Dan, said. “That, in and of itself, is so indicative of our ERT-West Virginia office mantra: Don’t tell me why we can’t do this. Tell me how we can.”

Dan was 66 years old. The ESPN family extends its condolences to his wife, Vita, two daughters, Gretchen and Hannah, and his family and friends.

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