CSI Alumnus Dan O’Leary ‘01: From CSI to NHL

October 5, 2017

Dan O'Leary (far right) with (l-r) his wife Melissa '01, his daughter Jenna, and his son Jake

Dan O’Leary has come a long way from his days as a forward on the 1999 Men’s Basketball team that won the CUNY Conference Tournament Championship and played in the NCAA Division III Tournament. He earned a BS in Communications/Journalism and a minor in Media Studies from CSI, which helped to propel him from the basketball court to the newsroom, giving him the opportunity to be a sports writer for the Staten Island Advance for seven years, the Daily News for six years, and now, the National Hockey League (NHL). Currently, he writes for a new section of NHL.com called “Short Shifts,” which focuses on potentially viral stories from around the league.

Looking back on it all, O’Leary seems quite content, “I’m lucky enough to feel like I have reached my major career goal, which was to get paid to write about sports. I had incredible experiences at the Staten Island Advance and New York Daily News and now, working for the National Hockey League is more than I could have ever imagined for myself. I owe many thanks to many people for how my career has played out so far.”

O’Leary also is enthusiastic about his CSI experience as he shares his philosophy on education and how it relates to life. “I have a singular belief about education. And that is, no matter what school you choose, you get out of it what you put into it. I’ve been out in the professional world for 15 years now and I have worked with people who went to Syracuse, NYU, Columbia, and plenty of others—schools that are pretty much the gold standard for journalism degrees. And here I was working right alongside them with my degree from the College of Staten Island. And I wasn’t the only CSI grad, or CUNY product, for that matter, in these offices. If you take your education seriously and allow yourself to be taught and learn from people more experienced than you are, you can get a top-notch education at a place that will not put you in student loan debt until you are a grandparent. But it’s on you, the student, to take it seriously, find what speaks to you and figure out what you really want to do with your life – because adulthood is coming whether you like it or not – and then find people who have done that with theirs and try to learn from their experience.”

As for the future, O’Leary says that he might write a book someday, but he explains that he and his wife Melissa are currently raising “two incredible kids (Jenna, a three-year old girl and Jake, a one-year old boy) that don’t leave us much down time as you can imagine. My main immediate goal right now is just to be a good dad.”

He also proudly retains his ties to CSI Athletics, stating that he still participates “in the Matty White Memorial Basketball Alumni Game every year and it’s always great to see my old teammates, who are now lifelong friends. CSI is part of who I am. I’m proud to say that I was a Dolphin and that I always will be.”