Nov. 15, 2012
Danny Lewis was an offensive lineman for the Jayhawks from 2002-03 and a member of the Kansas football team that competed in the 2003 Tangerine Bowl. Prior to joining the KU squad, Lewis played at Phoenix Community College in Arizona and was named a first-team all-conference selection during his final season at PCC. A 2004 graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in sports management, Lewis is a vital member of the KU Alumni Association staff, serving as Director of Alumni Programs. Lewis resides in Eudora with his wife, Laura, and son, Carter.
What made you decide to attend the University of Kansas?
“The University and town are second to none. When I came to KU I didn’t come here to play football. I came for the people and the great education I would receive. This University just has something about it that makes you want to be a part of it.”
What was your favorite part about being a student at KU?
“The fact that I can tell my kids that I really did walk up The Hill to and from school in the snow.”
What was the most memorable part of being a student-athlete?
“The camaraderie and friendships I made while at KU.”
What was it like to play in the 2003 Mazda Tangerine Bowl?
“I still dislike Philip Rivers, so that hasn’t changed. It was a great experience. At that point I believe KU hadn’t been to a bowl game in about 10 years and we were coming off two seasons of having a 2-10 record. But that year we got invited to go to the Tangerine Bowl. It was nice to see our hard work get rewarded. It was worth all of those early mornings and seeing those hard practices pay off.”
Do you have any advice for the current or future Jayhawk football players?
“There is no short cut to becoming great. You’re going to have to put in the work and pay the price. For the current team, I think they’re headed in the right direction. You’d be a fool to watch them and not see improvement. (Overall) Enjoy your time at KU; it’s the best time you will have. And remember when you graduate, your time as a Jayhawk has just begun.”
What have you been doing since your Jayhawk playing days?
“I worked with the Williams Fund for a year and now I have been at the Alumni Association for the past seven. Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been out of school that long!”
How did you get into your career field?
“I was in the right place at the right time. You never know who you are going to meet or chat with that may have an impact on where you end up.”
What is your most important role as a part of the Kansas Alumni Association?
“The biggest part is keeping the connection between the University and the alumni strong. I am able to travel outside of the state and outside the country to different places around the world. I work with alumni all over to keep that connection with the University of Kansas strong.”
What is the most exciting part of your job?
“The most exciting part is hearing people’s stories; something that I really enjoy. I love hearing stories about where people grew up and how they ended up in Kansas. I enjoy the connections I am able to make with people and finding things that I have in common with other alumni.”
Which place that you have traveled to with the Alumni Association was the most exhilarating?
“Well, you can never go wrong with New York City. With that being said, I spent two weeks in Asia in February starting alumni chapters in Hong Kong, Singapore and other cities. Being over there in different cities, trying to find your way around, getting to meet local KU alums there and seeing their hospitality; it doesn’t get much better than that. You have to rely on the people there to get you to where you need to go. It’s a great experience.”
Any advice for students who are trying to pursue a job like yours; one that gets to travel across the world?
“To get any ‘dream job’, a lot of it is putting yourself in the position to find what you are looking for. Any job today, especially with the economy and the job market as it is, the best advice I can give is don’t wait to start building a network of connections. Never overlook anyone or anything because you never know what conversation you may have or who you may meet in passing that may end up helping you out one day. That’s the biggest thing. You can never have too many people in your personal network. Also remember, your first, or even second job, may not be your dream job. You’re going to have to put in some hours and work.”
With everything going on in your career, do you have any down time to spend with your family?
“It used to be that I was pretty busy all the time so oftentimes, if I could, I would just buy my wife’s way to come with me on trips. But we have a two-year old son now, so the traveling has had to become a little more strategic. For example, if I’m going to be out on the East coast I go for five or seven days instead of making three separate trips out there. Traveling places has become more consolidated. If I have one month that’s pretty busy, I try to make the next month less busy.”
What makes you most proud to be a Jayhawk?
“We are worldwide. It seems like I can’t travel without running into Jayhawks. I also find it great that I have never met an alum who says they didn’t enjoy their time here.”