Alumnus Bray pays it forward

Alumnus Bray pays it forward Image
Alumnus Bray pays it forward November 7, 2017

Dwayne Bray, BA ’88, recently returned to his Viking roots to help the Alumni Association launch a new men’s leadership program geared toward students.

Dwayne Bray, BA ’88, recently returned to his Viking roots to help the Alumni Association launch a new men’s leadership program geared toward students. Although he lives in Connecticut, the senior coordinating producer at ESPN is an engaged alumnus, serving on the CSU Foundation board of directors and establishing a scholarship in honor of his late mother. Before his visit, Cleveland State magazine caught up with Bray.

Why did you choose to attend CSU? Frankly, CSU was one of my few options. I didn’t have the money to attend school away from home. I was still developing my study habits. CSU offered me admission into its “special studies” program because my GPA wasn’t very high coming out of Shaw High School. I knew I had a long way to go to make it to the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, but was dedicated to making the most of this opportunity.

Did you commute or live on campus? I rented an apartment in East Cleveland and commuted. Before I got a car, I caught the No. 6 bus to school every day for a year or two. 

Favorite Viking memories? I had plenty of great memories. Working at the Cauldron as a reporter and becoming editor-in-chief is one. Hanging out at the Rascal House or Shire restaurant with friends from the Cauldron and the Vindicator is another. Covering the Sweet 16 Vikings basketball team was certainly a highlight. Graduation was terrific. 

How did your CSU education impact your personal life and career? Without CSU, I would not be where I am at today in my journalism career at ESPN or in my personal life intellectually. CSU whetted my appetite for knowledge and helped me begin to think analytically. I put my CSU degree up against any of my colleagues and their degrees from Syracuse, Missouri, Duke, Cornell and Seton Hall.

You share your time, talent and treasure with CSU. Why? The past 30 years have been a blur, but nothing is more important than remembering where you started and trying to pay it forward. If I can’t help the young people of Cleveland, then, frankly, nothing else is important to me as far as outreach.

How often do you get back to Cleveland? I have family in Cleveland and visit the city three to four times a year. I get back to campus at least twice a year.

Did you follow Cleveland sports teams growing up? I like to say Cleveland sports was my gateway to my professional career in journalism and sports. At 12, I started delivering the Plain Dealer. At age 14, I started selling hot dogs and other concessions at Browns and Indians games. Cleveland sports helped keep me grounded and away from the mean, mean streets that have swallowed up so many young people like myself. I read the sports sections of the Plain Dealer and the old Cleveland Press religiously and studied the agate pages for minutiae information on stats. Once I got to ESPN, almost everybody I met had a similar story in their own city.

What’s the best part of your job? I manage stories and content with some of the best on-air and behind-the-scenes talent in the world for shows and platforms like E:60, Outside the Lines, SportsCenter and

What’s your top career achievement so far? Being blessed with the task of starting the television investigative/enterprise reporting unit at ESPN under the Outside the Lines brand. We’ve won all the major awards (Dupont, Murrow, Peabody) but more importantly, we’ve helped hold the sports world accountable for the past decade.

Are you a jock in real life? Yes, I coached youth and AAU basketball for 22 years until recently. I still train kids at basketball and work out with them, and play pickup. And about five years ago, I started to run about 15-18 miles each week and participate in 5Ks. A former high-school baseball player at Shaw, I always hated running prior to that. I was a ball-and-stick guy.