NSSA Weekend: Goren gives back to the sports media
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Dave Goren is a big fan of second chances.
After being let go from the sports director position at WXII in Winston-Salem in 2009, it ended a 24-year run for the Taunton, Mass. native in TV, 20 of which were in Winston-Salem.
But he’s not holding a grudge towards sports media. In his second year, the NSSA executive director is setting new goals and creating initiatives for the 52-year-old organization based in Salisbury. His two-plus decades of experience in the business gives the NSSA a transparent first-person view at the head of the table.
“For me, its a way to give back to the industry I was in and the people in it,” Goren said. “So I want to make it a big deal.”
Helping the organization maintain its legitimacy is priority No. 1 for Goren, who admits his business background is limited.
Then again, that’s what second chances are for.
“My goal in TV was, it’s OK to make mistakes,” Goren said. “You don’t want to make them more than once. You learn from them and that’s what we’re doing.”
During his distinguished media career, Goren worked for WJAR-TV in Providence and WCVB-TV in Boston after calling play-by-play on the court and the gridiron for Syracuse, his alma mater and top-flight school for communications. He still has his foot in the reporting fire, currently as a sideline reporter for Wake Forest football for ISP sports.
Goren helped make the event more inviting to the public with Sunday’s autograph session at Waterworks and having a public sale of tickets to the awards weekend, which was a sellout. With high-profile figures like Bob Ryan, Peter King and Mike Tirico attending, Goren likes the idea of the community interacting with the big names.
“Before, when did you get to see all these famous people in Salisbury?” Goren said. “So we’re doing the autograph session free and open to the public Sunday as a way for people to see these guys.”
Bringing back the Hall of Fame museum is another goal for Goren, as well as getting the awards banquet on par with other prestigious award ceremonies such as the Bear Bryant College Football Coach of the Year Award and the Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year Award, which many NSSA members vote in.
“I’ve been to both of those banquets and they’re like 500-people banquets and I think that’s we should be,” Goren said.
After having the banquet in the Salisbury train depot for several years, moving the ceremony to Goodman Gym at Catawba allows the NSSA to sell more tickets. Goren says last year, only 12 tickets were sold to the public due to space limitations at the depot.
“It’s a cool place and I love it, but we had Arnold Palmer there last year and if we could have sold more tickets, we could sold 500,” Goren said.
All award winners pay for their trip to Salisbury, but the association finances their hotel and food, which no true sports media member could ever resist.
With modern-day media becoming more ill-defined with the emergence of the internet and social media, Goren’s policy on sports media is more inclusive than exclusive. These days, college degrees and journalism schools aren’t needed to legitimize a voice, just a computer with internet access will do.
“My theory is that if you’re writing or you’re talking about sports, then you’re sports media,” Goren said. “Especially today, who’s to say ‘You haven’t worked at the New York Times for 10 years, so you don’t qualify.’ ”
Goren seeks more diversity among members, an issue touched upon Saturday in the dinner & women in sports media issues forum, led by CBS’s Lesley Visser, Katy Brown, Jenni Carlson and Mary Jo Perino.
Essentially, Goren has to keep the NSSA weekend a date on the calendar that’s already perpetually circled by sports fans all around the area. People from all over the country touched down in Rowan County Saturday and will spend a few days here, hopefully which are memorable.
“If you talk to the local people or some of the guys that have been back, they’ll say ‘I’ve made lifelong friends here,’ ” Goren said. “If you’re Salisbury, isn’t that great?”