Inside the career of KMBC-9 Sports Director Johnny Kane

In the wee early hours of April 8th, 2008, Johnny Kane gobbled the best Denny’s breakfast he ever had.

Just hours earlier, Kane was in the Alamo Dome for Mario’s Miracle – the shot that propelled the Kansas Jayhawks to an NCAA National Championship victory. But in the front row, he was no spectator. And in the moments after the overtime dominated by the Crimson and Blue, Kane made sure his work came before play.

“We worked hard all week to bring the Topeka community all the sights and sounds of San Antonio,” Kane said. “There wasn’t much down time, but once I filed my final report on Monday night, early Tuesday morning, I could finally relax.”

Kane was the sports director for KSTN in Topeka at the time, a middle stop in a well-traveled career path. He studied broadcast journalism at the University of Ohio and earned a post-graduate internship in Hopkinsville, Ky. After three months, he took a job at the same WKAG station and stayed for over two years. Following five years in Topeka, including covering of the Jayhawks’ national championship, Kane moved to KMBC-9 News, the ABC affiliate in Kansas City.
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Similar to most journalists, things started very small for a young Kane. He first began writing sports for his high school newspaper. But from humble begins to where he is now, Kane emphasizes a persistent determination and ambition.

“You need to outwork everyone. Many people try to develop a ‘thing’ that they want to be known for. That’s not the right approach. Your “thing” needs to be a tireless work ethic.”
This dedication to his craft has led Kane into a more diverse journalism experience than he ever imagined. Each Friday morning, he is a guest host on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City and will occasionally fill in on the show “Fescoe in the Morning.” He also is the spokesperson for the Bright Futures Fund and emcees various events for them.

As well rounded as Kane has become, he admits there are still challenges that he faces in his profession. In the age of increased media attention, teams have tightened much of the access to the players and coaches.

“One struggle is developing and maintaining great contacts. Any more you need to go through Sports Information Directors in order to gain access to athletes. It’s not like the good-old days where you could pick up the phone and write your story. You must operate within the timeframe of availability.”

Going forward, Kane has desires to move to a sports specific network such as ESPN or the new Fox Sports One. However, his end goal is to make an impact and pursue a political career after his sports journalism is over.

“Believe it or not, there are some good and decent politicians in this world. I hope to become one of those to effect positive change in this country.”

Kane has always wished to help out in the community. Any opportunity to help a group of people or an individual grow is something he truly values. He always has a handful of advice waiting.

“Be yourself. You can pull traits from the people you admire in the industry, but at the end of the day be true to yourself. It’s much easier to be consistent when you’re genuine in your approach. The viewers will see that as well.”

Kane has nearly done it all. He’s been there and done that. From his lowly start as a writer for a high school newspaper to his ambitions of ESPN and a career in politics, there is certainly a mountain to be climbed. But similar to his favorite and defining career event, all it takes is one shot.

Hopefully this time it doesn’t take a miracle.


KU Soccer Falls to TCU 1-0

The Jayhawks just couldn’t catch a break.

For extended periods of time in Friday evening’s 1-0 loss to TCU, the Kansas Women’s soccer team dominated their opponent. The Jayhawks were ball hogs, keeping the game in their offensive third nearly the entire second half.

Despite their best efforts, they were unable to net an equalizer to push the game into overtime. Possibly the best chance came when midfielder Hanna Kallmaier side stepped a defender and ripped a shot from just outside of the penalty box, only to find solid crossbar. The ball ricocheted straight down, and the Jayhawks were unable to muscle in the rebound through a scrum of defenders.

A corner kick in the final minute spit the ball out to the top of the box but again a desperation shot sailed high and the clock sped towards zero.

Junior goaltender Kaitlyn Stroud played a spectacular game making multiple impressive saves. Her only blemish was a perfectly placed header by Kelly Johnson off a TCU corner. The ball flew to the back post where Johnson tucked it beautifully into the upper right hand corner for what proved to be the game winner.

The Jayhawks pushed feverishly for the duration of the second half but never made the TCU goalkeeper produce a difficult save.

The game turned a bit feisty in the final 15 minutes after a few hard fouls each way. Time needed to be called for the referee to work out a few disputes between players.

The Jayhawks fell to 5-7-2 overall and 0-2-1 in conference play. They will travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia next Friday.

Jayhawk Athletes Around the World

In spirit of the theme of the University of Kansas’ Homecoming Weekend, “Jayhawks Around The World,” I have produced an interactive map detailing the origins of KU’s international athletes.

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 2.03.50 PM

A few points of analysis:

* Women’s sports (20) have nearly triple the number of international athletes then men’s sports (7). A percentage of 9.3% and 3.2% of athletes, respectively.

* The number of total athletes from men’s and women’s sports correlates closely with the NCAA’s Title IX rule. There are 219 athletes in men’s sports and 215 on women’s rosters.

* Women’s sports traditionally are more “Olympic” based than those of the men. This could be a factor in having many more international athletes than men. For example, football (a non-Oylmpic sport) has nearly 50% of men’s athletes on the team, but not a single international player.

* In general, it is evident that sports that have a better international foothold are home to the majority of international athletes at KU. These are primarily soccer, tennis, golf, swim and running sports.

Here is a final screen capture of the raw data and a few notes:

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 2.16.25 PM

What you did not know about Michael Campo

As I walk into the University of Kansas football office, I do not know what to expect. Waiting for a conversation with someone you’re not familiar with does that to you. Around me are years of tradition, highlighting the successes of the program. None recently, of course, and that’s the reason for the sweeping changes that brought my subject here two years ago.

Out of the back doors comes a man in his lower-twenties. He rocks a beard that reminds you a bit of Kimbo Slice’s, though blonde instead of black. It’s different, because that’s exactly what David “Michael” Campo is.

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Michael and I didn’t shake hands traditionally. He has too much swagger for that – fortunately I’m able to recognize this. The “bro-shake” or whatever you want to call it ensues. He’s dressed in a white long-sleeved t-shirt, athletic shorts and a fresh pair of kicks. Everything is Adidas, of course. Michael is a student assistant coach for the Kansas Jayhawk football team.

The anxiousness goes away as we head back to his office to talk. He has that unique ability to calm any nerves. He’s open and funny, respectful yet bold. And it helps we have a common love and knowledge for football.

Michael’s father Dave Campo Sr. is the current assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for KU. Campo Sr. also boasts and accomplishment that only eight men in the world can say is true. He was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

For one of Michael’s birthdays, the Cowboys’ bus picked him and a group of friends up to hang out at the team’s camp. The owner of America’s team and the world’s third most expensive stadium takes pictures with Michael. It’s an experience that really stuck with him.

“I loved being around the players and my dad. This was really the first time I knew that I wanted to be a part of football.”

Now at KU, Michael gets to have the combination of all three: his father, the team and the game he loves.

“I love being able to be around my dad and watch what he does. Working in the office gives me a chance to view what the business is like, and also how the coaches do things. I’m glad that I have the opportunity to learn from my dad.”

The two share the grind that a football coach gets to go through. It’s an experience Michael says has made them even closer.

Michael’s age fuses the players and the coaches. He poses for #beardgang pictures with linebacker Ben Heeney and wears snapbacks with running back Darrian Miller. He tweets out Drake lyrics and references “Lil’ Terio,” a Vine sensation. He gets it. And that’s an important bond between the staff and the team.

“Being the same age as the players I think is helpful. Sometimes the players have questions that they don’t want to ask the coaches so they ask me and if I don’t know the answer I go and find out for them.

“It’s a good relationship, a little strange being in the same classes as them, but I am a college student and so are they.”

Being a coach’s son on staff isn’t a lonely spot either. Both head coach Charlie Weis and running backs coach Reggie Mitchell have sons that work on the staff. Michael, Charlie Jr. and Kaeman Mitchell embody a very unique relationship.

“I love Charlie Jr. and Kaeman. I think it’s amazing that the three of us are interested in getting into coaching and we all have an opportunity of a lifetime to be here with our fathers. We are all close to the same age, and friends. I enjoy working work with them.

“I think the best thing we all get to experience is being around our fathers. Each of our dads knows the business and they have years and years of experience. Being able to learn the trade from them is the greatest thing anyone could ask for. “

Michael values his relationships around the program. But the special storylines don’t matter to Michael. He just wants to enjoy being a coach and all that comes with it.

“I love the sport, and I want to be a part of it anyway that I can.  The hours are long, but the time you put in is what you get out of it. I want to be apart of this game.”