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Top 10: Stanford sports interviewees in 2013

There are many great people involved with Stanford Athletics, and The Daily Sports Staff interacts with a large percentage of them. In honor of the top-10 issue, the following is a list of The Daily Sports Staff’s top 10 favorite people to interview.

1. Women’s basketball senior Chiney Ogwumike

Senior star Chiney Ogwumike (above) tops our list of Stanford sports interviewees in 2013. (LUIS AGUILAR/The Stanford Daily)

Senior star Chiney Ogwumike (above) tops our list of Stanford sports interviewees in 2013. (LUIS AGUILAR/The Stanford Daily)

As a four-year starter on the women’s basketball team, Ogwumike has spent plenty of time in the spotlight, and there’s no one at Stanford who shines brighter in that light. From on-camera dance parties to eloquent interviews, a moment with Ogwumike is never dull.

2. Women’s volleyball head coach John Dunning

Dunning sounds more like a history professor than a coach, which isn’t surprising given his start as a high school teacher and coach. He captures the essence of every moment, good or bad, and never seems to hide anything. Dunning’s press conference after a tough loss to USC this season was one of the best we’ve ever seen.

3. Football senior Conor McFadden

Thirty seconds into your first conversation with McFadden, you feel like a lifelong friend. Two minutes later, you’re pretty sure your last name is also McFadden. McFadden’s booming voice, beaming smile and cunning wit will be missed during his time away from the Farm to work on his dad’s Senate campaign.

4. Baseball junior Alex Blandino

Two moments in particular clinched this spot for Blandino. First, Blandino’s description of scoring the game-winning run in a walkoff Cardinal win early in the 2013 season was hilarious. Later, after a season-ending loss, Blandino’s sadness and disappointment was profound.

5. Women’s water polo junior Kiley Neushul

It’s easy to tell the truth when everything is going well or everything is going badly. Neushul told the enlightening truth when her team’s dynamic was somewhere in the middle, and it allowed for an intriguing look into what was billed as the best collegiate water polo team ever assembled.

6. Men’s soccer senior JJ Koval

Playing a sport that doesn’t get much media attention, Koval was relatively anonymous on Stanford’s campus despite having the talent that would make him a top-10 MLS Draft selection. Koval makes you feel comfortable with his quiet demeanor and gives great descriptions of his team’s fight to make it to the NCAA Tournament.

7. Women’s volleyball senior Rachel Williams

The best way to describe interviewing Williams is that you always feel like you’re having a conversation with the real her. It’s often easy to forget that stars like Williams have a life outside of their sport, but after talking to Rachel, those are the things you remember most about her.

8. Football defensive coordinator Derek Mason

When you’re talking with Mason, make sure to clear out your schedule. Ask him a question, and you’ll watch it go in a completely different direction than you imagined; but everything he says is awesome. And when you’re done with the interview you’ll feel like you gained a friend.

9. Men’s swimming senior Bryan Offutt

Offutt is the definition of a Stanford Renaissance Man. Where else do you find a world-class swimmer walking from swim practice to the computer science section he teaches sporting a tie-dye shirt, overgrown hair, a scraggly beard and Baltimore Ravens’ pajama pants? And when you talk to him, it becomes quickly apparent that he’s far along on the path to enlightenment.

10. Football alumnus James McGillicuddy 09

The best way to describe why we had to put this alumnus on the list: Just ask head football coach David Shaw. After reading “Rags to Roses,” Shaw told me, “Every time I saw a quote about to come from McGillicuddy I cringed.” That is every sportswriter’s dream.

Contact Sam Fisher at safisher ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Sam Fisher

Sam Fisher is the managing editor of sports for The Stanford Daily's Vol. 244. Sam also does play-by-play for KZSU's coverage of Stanford football, Stanford baseball and Stanford women's basketball. In 2013, Sam co-authored "Rags to Roses: The Rise of Stanford Football," with Joseph Beyda and George Chen.