Ep. 77: David Benner, Director of Media Relations

David Benner is in his 24th season as the Director of Media Relations for the Indiana Pacers. He’s the primary contact between the media and the team.

Benner, however, has been both sides. He spent 16 years as a writer for the Indianapolis Star, including eight years covering the Pacers. He moved over to his present role with the team in 1994, replacing Dale Ratermann. That transition included many changes for David, like an upgrade in his wardrobe.

He got his start working in sports as a manager for the Center Grove High School boys basketball team while a sophomore. “I’ve kind of been involved in sports ever since that,” he says.

Benner and his PR staff — that includes Krissy Myers and Wes Kaminski — twice (2010-11, 2012-13) has been the recipient of the annual Brian McIntyre Media Relations Award for consistently going above and beyond the call of duty to work cooperatively with the local and national media.

On this podcast, you’ll get to know Benner, one of the many faces behind the scenes. You may remember him for his famous pregame routine with Reggie Miller, who was superstitious so Benner had to deliver a Pepsi courtside and talk trash to him before each game.

Benner has worked daily with players like Ron Artest and Jeff Foster, coaches Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas, Rick Carlisle, and Frank Vogel, plus Larry Bird – the coach and executive.

David Benner recording the podcast from the St. Vincent Center. [Wes Kaminski]

Among the individuals the Indiana native has enjoyed working with is longtime executive Donnie Walsh, who had this advice in regards to not addressing hires and signings until … they are truly final.

“Until the thing is signed on a dotted line, it hasn’t happened.”

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I welcome your questions and comments @ScottAgness on Twitter or via email.

Topics Discussed:

  • His start at the Indianapolis Star as a copy boy – the best grunt work of his life
  • Working alongside and with his older brother, Bill – at The Star and now again with the Pacers
  • Transitioning from beat reporting to media relations
  • Herb Simon and how his ownership style hasn’t changed
  • NBA Twitter and media sourcing
  • How this Pacers team may be the best group of all
  • Stories on previous players, including Reggie and Ron Ron
  • Labeling injured players as “interns”
  • What he’d like to see change in media coverage

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