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Updated Jun 14, 2014 - 12:44 am

Who’s Your Daddy Week: Arizona Sports recognizes all the great dads out there

With Father’s Day coming up, Arizona Sports 98.7 and is launching ‘Who’s Your Daddy Week’ presented by Michelob Ultra.

From June 9 through June 13, guests on Arizona Sports 98.7 will be asked to talk about their fathers:

What is the most important thing your dad taught you?

You’ll be able to check out all the responses during the week right here on

We also asked our own staff to get involved and share memories with their own fathers, and those stories can be seen below.

Enjoy, and Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!’s Darren Urban

Tell us something special about your dad

He was never a huge sports guy, certainly not as much as I was. At one point, my parents had gotten divorced and he had moved to Chicago for a job. He liked sports well enough, but…

I was, back in the day, I did enjoy the Mets, I was a big Dwight Gooden fan. I happened to be going up to Chicago to visit him when the Mets were playing the Cubs in an old school doubleheader where you actually got to go and they played two games in a row. Dwight Goodwin was pitching and my dad actually got tickets right behind the Cubs dugout, eighth row, I got to see a doubleheader, I got to see Gooden pitch. And I got to hang out with my dad.

It wasn’t his favorite all-time favorite thing to do but he wanted to do it for me, and that is something I will always remember.

NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock

What is the most important thing you learned from your dad?

My dad and mom had seven kids in eight years. And I’m the oldest. There were five boys, all five boys played college football. And dad was my high school coach. So I learned a lot from my dad because not only is he the guy that I respect more than anybody that I ever met as a person, he was the guy that really gave me my passion for the game of football. Kind of interesting you ask the question today because there’s an award (The Michael F. Mayock Distinguished Teacher-Coach) named after my father in the Philadelphia area that goes to the outstanding teacher and coach in a specific league here in Philadelphia. Yesterday I had the honor of handing that award to a woman that was the field hockey and lacrosse coach at a school around here and it has my father’s name on it. Every year it goes to another teacher-coach. Every year I get all emotional about what that means. It’s pretty cool.

I love how you phrase that too. Not enough people say teacher-coach. And just put it like that puts it into proper perspective, doesn’t it?

I had him as an eighth grade math teacher and then four years as a high school coach. When I talk about coaches in any sport, not just football. I love being around (former Utah coach) Rick Majerus coaching basketball, I love being around a great baseball coach as much as I do football, but what it comes down to for me is the best coaches, and Bill Belichick fits this, the best coaches are the best teachers. It’s not just about throwing Xs and Os on the blackboard, it’s about implementing those things on the field, and that’s teaching.

Was he more disciplined on you as a math student, as a football player, or a son?

The first day of eighth grade math, my dad was a 6-foot-3, 240-pound former tight end that was drafted by the Steelers. The first day of class he liked to set an example and nobody ever messed around in Mr. Mayock’s class. Here I am his son, he put my head in the desk and beat on the top of the desk the first day of eighth grade and nobody messed the rest of the year. I probably ran more wind sprints than any football player in the history of Haverford School.

Suns forward PJ Tucker

What is something special that you learned from your dad?

I would say the number one thing is taking responsibility, my dad is always big on that. I think it’s one of things kind of makes me the man I am today, you know working hard, always taking responsibility for everything I do and everything that happens in my life.

From me having to go to Europe, to coming back and really fighting and putting that effort out there, I think the responsibility my dad always made me take has got me to the point where I’m at now and will continue to push me where I’m going.

Diamondbacks relief pitcher JJ Putz

What have you learned most from your father?

I think right off the top of my head the first thing that comes to me is just hard work. My dad was a general contractor for 30 years and my brother and I in the summers would work for him on the construction sites. Just to see him get up every morning and just show that hard work that he put in day in and day out. It really kind of stuck with my brother and I for sure.

ESPN MLB insider Tim Kurkjian

What is the most important or special you learned from your father?

I learned everything from my father. Nobody, but nobody had a greater love and a greater feel for the game than my father. He was a really good payer in his day. This was all we talked about growing up.

He used to throw a pillow down in the living room when we weren’t playing and he would teach us how to make a double play. He would run us through first and second, a ground ball to you, where are you going?

One day he, using an apple as a baseball, threw it through the French window trying to demonstrate something and he looked at me and said, ‘Tim, tell Mom that you did it and I’ll get you off easy.’

That’s my dad for you. He died 11 years ago and I haven’t been the same since.

AZCentral Sports’ Kent Somers

What is the most important thing you learned from your father?

I think there’s a certain work ethic or effort that you need to put out in most anything you do.

My dad was an old high school football coach who left coaching to go make a decent living for his family. I was playing little league football, was like nine or 10 years old and I think I was playing up a weight class and there were some bigger guys out there and I was scared, so I would sneak to the back of the line all the time when I had to match up against bigger guys.

My dad’s watching practice and we get home, we get out of the car and he goes, ‘Don’t take off your uniform, practice isn’t over.’ My dad wasn’t really like this, but we went into the backyard and he put me through drills with him for about 30 minutes. And he goes, ‘That’s how you practice. If you’re going to go out there you don’t have to be the best, but you have to give your best. Quit hiding around and giving less than you can.’

That’s kind of a lesson that’s always stuck with me or at least I’ve tried to remember.

AZCentral Sports’ Paul Coro

What is the most important thing you learned from your father?

I learned an incredible work ethic from my dad. My dad was an Air Force guy, and I’m not your typical military kid who bounced around or anything; I was fortunate that he had already retired and gone into civil service.

I saw my dad work a lot of crazy hours and then come home and get out the glove to play catch with me or go rebound for me. That commitment on both sides, to work and to family, was pretty special for me. The best thing, one of my favorite souvenirs, when I hit my first home run in a little league game he went during the game and ran around to chase down the ball in the outfield and save it for me, so I still have that.

NBC sportscaster Dan Hicks

What is the most important thing you learned from your father?

When you do a job, do it right. And that kind of dovetails into all aspects of your life, whether it’s your career, your livelihood; whether it’s your family life, your marriage, the way you treat people — if you’re going to do something, do it right.

And that’s the message that it’s pounded through every time I think of my dad.

NFL Hall-of-Famer Randall McDaniel

What is the most important thing you learned from your father?

How to be a good person. How to treat others. My dad was teaching me life lessons on how to do things before I even knew it. Work ethic. Getting out there and doing things the right way instead of doing them over and over.

You want to talk sports — my dad used to play baseball with me. And he never threw it straight to me. He always threw it up in the air — you know, the ones the kids are afraid to get under. And I never thought anything of it until I started playing baseball and the coach is hitting balls to you in the outfield. All the other kids are ducking and I’m running up there and grabbing them. And you realize, ‘That’s why he was throwing them to me that way.’

But he always taught me about sportsmanship. He said, ‘Always give your best.’

I’ve got too many things. I can’t sum it up.

My dad did a lot of great things for me and still does.

My hat’s off to my dad for everything he did for me.

Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek

What is the most important thing you learned from your father?

Just to be a good person. He was always friendly with everybody. I think just the respect that he gives people and the ability that he has to be a good person and do that in his everyday life — from his work to being at home with us — he was somebody that you could count on.

Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers

What is the most important thing you learned from your father?

My dad comes from midwestern roots, a small town called Churdan, Iowa. He was a farmer so, you know, very blue-collar. When I was a kid, my dad was the one that would go out there and set up the rubber in the parking lot and have me throw to him. You know, work on the breaking balls, change-ups. He was just a good man that loves sports and, you know, kind of taught me at a very young age how important sports were — being a good teammate.

My dad was a big track man. Funny story — track was his favorite sport and he used to take me to the Modesto relays, the Drake relays. We’d go up to Eugene, Ore. and he thought his kid was going to be ready for the 1980 Olympics. He used to put me in all of those athletic league track tournaments and the first time he put me in a (400m race), it was a staggered start and I was about eight years old and I didn’t quite understand how the staggered start worked and I was in the 8th lane and I take off and I’m blowing everybody away about three quarters of the way through and I got to the last turn and thought, ‘Where the hell are all these guys coming from?’, they all went flying by me and I end up losing by probably 100 yards. And my dad said, ‘Oh, sport. You’d better stick to baseball. I think the Montreal Olympics aren’t in the works for you.’

Diamondbacks pitcher Bronson Arroyo

What special things have you learned from your father?

I grew up a bit strange where I was in the weight room from age six on and really training. I am a major league baseball player now and from that age on I was lifting weights, taking supplements, carbo loading, making sure I was eating clean, and getting my rest two or three days before I pitched.

It was kind of a strange life when I look back upon it but what I learned during that time was what it was going to take to really play this game everyday. It was kind of goal setting, having a routine and knowing to put one foot in front of the other every day regardless of how many times you got beat or got knocked down that it was going to amount to something. It’s part of the reason I’ve been so resilient and pitched the past 19 years without being on the disabled list.

Doug Franz

What is the most important life lesson your dad passed down to you?

So many fathers say things or do things that their son will implement in their life. It’s different for me. He has given me a glowing example of the man I should be. I rarely reach that standard. It’s not to say there was ever pressure. I was never asked to be a certain way. Simply, my father is a great man and I’m a good man. He would humbly disagree and that’s exactly what makes him great.

My father would tell me to “quit being a spaz” or “show some dignity,” but as you can tell, those lessons didn’t necessarily stick. My father led more by example. We live thousands of miles apart and yet the same thing happens to me every time. I react to a situation poorly, then think of what my father would do. If the day ever comes I can skip step one and get right to step two, I’ll be a better person.

What is the most memorable sports experience you remember sharing with your dad?

My most memorable sports moment with my father is a funny question because it just happened a couple years ago, but you need some background to really understand what it meant.

My parents didn’t make very much money, yet my father spent the money to take my brother and me to a lot of Cincinnati Reds games. It was never about just one memory but the feeling of being at a baseball game with my father. I got a call once while I was in college from my dad and he asked if I had major plans for a weekend or a test I needed to prepare for. When I said no, he asked if I wanted to go to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I said yes and he said to pack and head downstairs because my parents and brother were in the car outside my dorm. He drove two hours to my dorm just to ask at that point if I wanted to go.

Now that you see, what baseball and my father mean to me, my greatest sports moment with my dad happened in Mesa. I was asked to participate in a charity baseball game with some former Major Leaguers and some Hall of Famers. The timing was amazing because it was during a visit from my father.

I hadn’t swung at a baseball since college. In my third at bat, I drove a clean single against great reliever Lee Smith to left over the head of the shortstop and somewhat into the gap, although I was way too slow to even think about second. As soon as I hit it, my father yelled, “Hey!” from the seats. In three years of varsity baseball, he never missed a home game but sat quietly and didn’t want to make noise as if to say, “that’s my son,” because he didn’t want to put any attention on himself. In that moment, he lost himself in emotion when his 39-year-old son got a hit in a meaningless game other than the money raised for charity. Standing on first, I smiled like I was 16 again.

I love my dad.

Dave Burns

What is the most important life lesson your dad passed down to you?

To always look ahead. To try to think about things two steps before they actually happen so you’re ready for them when or if they do. And to not be satisfied with what you’ve done but to look ahead to what you might do next.

What is the most memorable sports experience you remember sharing with your dad?

My first football game. I was five. We were living in Evanston, Illinois; he was attending Northwestern for a year-long program for law enforcement training. He got a pair of great tickets to see Ohio State and Northwestern but the guy who gave them to him was from Ohio so it was with the condition that we root for the Buckeyes. To this day I’ve always had the tiniest of soft spots for Ohio State football. We absolutely froze out there and by the third quarter we were back home drinking hot chocolate.

Vince Marotta

What is the most important life lesson your dad passed down to you?

The most important life lesson my dad passed down to me was simply the phrase “be aggressive.” It’s something I first heard while playing soccer as a nine-year-old and it’s something that’s resonated with me ever since.

Yes, originally the context was youth soccer. My dad wanted me to be more assertive on the field. But those three words pop up in life every day. I’m not the most aggressive person in the world. Often times, I’ve been content to accept whatever happens. So when I struggle to assert myself, my father’s words pop back up and guide me in the right direction.

What is the most memorable sports experience you remember sharing with your dad?

My most memorable sports experience with my dad is actually a tie. The first experience happened when I was four-years-old. It was August 28, 1975. My dad, a New York City police officer, came home in the middle of the day and told me to take a nap because he was taking me to my first Yankees game and it would be a late night. Even then, I was a baseball nut and my dad and I would watch every game on WPIX, much to my mom’s chagrin.

The Yankees were playing the A’s that night at Shea Stadium (Yankee Stadium was being renovated.) So my dad, my sister, my cousin and I got in the car and drove to Flushing to see the Yanks take on the three-time defending World Series champs. Holtzman against Dobson. I remember my dad encouraging me to cheer for closer Tippy Martinez to strike out Reggie in the ninth. He didn’t, but Reggie grounded out and the Yanks went on to win 3-2. My dad also bought me my first Yankees pennant that night, and my sister promptly spilled a Coke on it. Thirty-eight years later, I still have it.


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