Domer Diaries

My Domer Diary: John Barnes

Producing Sports' Biggest Moments


Editor’s Note: Domer Diaries is the newest storytelling series from the Alumni Association where members of the Notre Dame family tell their stories in their own words. This week’s Domer Diary entry comes from John Barnes ’03, a Senior Producer at NBC Sports. 

Name: John Barnes

Class Year: 2003

Residence Hall: Stanford Hall

Major: Film, Television, and Theatre

Student Activities: Intramural basketball, Bookstore Basketball Champion 2003, WVFI radio station

Local Notre Dame club: Notre Dame Club of Fairfield County

Why did you choose Notre Dame? 

I grew up 20 minutes from campus on the south side of South Bend. My family and friends lived and breathed Notre Dame. My family was in Tempe, Arizona for the 1989 Fiesta Bowl and I sat with my dad for the Game of the Century in 1993. I remember Rocket returning a kickoff against Miami running directly into the end zone I sat in next to my uncle. We’d play football in our neighbors' yards and pretend we were Allen Pinkett or Tim Brown. I kept a running tally during Notre Dame basketball games of everything Keith Tower did on the court. Once I got accepted to Notre Dame, there was no choice. 

What lessons from Notre Dame do you still use in your day-to-day work life? 

Notre Dame required work ethic and dedication and those years were the most fun years of my life. Every day was a balance of hard work and enjoyment with friends. Working and talking sports is so much fun, but it’s weekends, nights, holidays — lots of hard work surrounding events that most people watch for escape and enjoyment. I try to use the same work ethic I needed for class while hopefully maintaining the sense of fun. When I worked football and basketball games for WVFI, I remember hearing it was the only way for students abroad to listen to those games. That memory stays with me. Sports are supposed to be fun but there are inevitably people who have carved hours out of their lives to watch or listen to a broadcast. Fans escape with sports while also caring deeply about the results; treat their time with respect.  

How do you spend your time away from the office/work? 

Podcasts, articles, shows, live events — anything that involves sports or entertainment. We’re in the golden age of content. When I’m not watching or listening, I’m preferably driving my kids around to their activities and games. I didn’t realize what my parents went through watching my games until I started watching my kids play sports. A tied soccer game in the late seconds will bring me to my knees. We also like to spend time with family and friends just relaxing, enjoying cocktails and dreams!