Hudson to Halas Hall: Eastern Iowa man realizes his NFL dream - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hudson to Halas Hall: Eastern Iowa man realizes his NFL dream

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CHICAGO (KWWL) -

Every year, thousands of kids dream big, hoping to one day be on the field with their favorite NFL team.

A young man from eastern Iowa made that happen, but even the most die-hard football fans here might not have heard of him.

He hasn't made a goal line stop or a game-winning touchdown, but he's still been a very big part of the Chicago Bears organization for more than a decade now.

"Ever since I can remember, I've been a Bears fan," said Dan Yuska. That Bears fan graduated from Hudson where he was a two-year starter in football.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get to the point I am now," said Yuska, now a business development coordinator for the Bears.

Before joining the Monsters of the Midway, Dan first had to be an intern in Illinois. "I was all in. You didn't have to ask twice."

It all started with a connection. Dan was at Loras where a professor knew people linked to the Bears training camp.

"One day, the phone rang and it was Brian McCaskey with the Bears and he said he had a spot open as an intern in Platteville," said Yuska.

That internship paid off.

Big time.

He was offered a full-time job at the Chicago Bears headquarters, Halas Hall, named after one of the founding fathers of the NFL.

To get from Hudson to Halas Hall was not an easy journey for Dan. It took a lot of hard work, including doing some odd jobs. "Picking up in that locker room after game days, whether it's socks or anything else you can imagine that's thrown across the locker room floor," said Yuska.

Dan says he wouldn't trade in those socks for anything. "Here I was, a kid from Iowa, small town and got to be with my childhood team on a full-time basis," said Yuska.

You name it, from the equipment department to the video department, Dan has been a special teams player behind the scenes.

As a business development coordinator, one of his main jobs is to get the Bears to and from training camp. "Logistically, we are literally taking everything we have at Halas Hall and moving it 90 miles south," said Yuska. That's a heavy-duty job, but so is understanding 95 years of tradition and making it shine within the walls of Halas Hall.

He's been one of the leaders of this pack of Bears lore, preserving the pride in different ways, like helping engineer the creation of elaborate, dynamic video touch screens.

Knowing the history starts with getting to know those who are responsible for it. "Being in the same room with some of these legends, whether it's Gayle Sayers, Mike Ditka or Ed Sprinkle," said Yuska. Ed Sprinkle may be a speckle in Chicago's grand past, but it shows the commitment Dan has to tell the whole Bears story. "He was just a down-to-earth guy who would chat with you about his time playing in the 1940's and that time period, listening to him talk was phenomenal, stuff you could only read in books," said Yuska.

Whether he has his hands on history or is on the sidelines on Sunday, Dan keeps one thing in mind. "You walk in the doors of Halas Hall in the main lobby and the first thing you see is that trophy, that Super Bowl trophy in a display case. It's just a reminder of our ultimate goal," said Yuska.

His message of how to get there is one that mirrors what it takes if you have dreams of one day working for an NFL franchise. "It's about hard work, determination, timing and a little bit of good luck thrown in there and there's no reason you can't be where you want to be," said Yuska.

That and don't forget the laundry detail. "All the glamorous stuff, picking up socks," said Yuska.

It's been an up and down year for the Bears who played the Packers on Sunday Night Football on KWWL. The Packers are a fierce rival. So fierce, Dan doesn't call them by name. When talking about Green Bay, he says, "the team up north."

Halas Hall also showcases the helmets for each team, by division, in alphabetical order. But when it comes to the NFC North, Green Bay's helmet is at the bottom, below Minnesota, even though the letter G comes before M in the alphabet.

Public access to Halas Hall is limited, but tours can be booked if you'd like to see where the Bears play their home games, at Soldier Field.


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