Q: First off, I have to thank you for providing us with one of the best reality show moments in history with your funeral.
Dan: Thank you so much! I really appreciate that. You know, it was kind of like a Hail Mary in terms of trying to make something chaotic happen, but I’m glad it kept you entertained.
Q: Before the speeches, everyone guessed the vote was going to be really close, but then your Grandfather’s gold cross came up. Do you think that swayed the Jury?
Dan: That may have cost me a vote, but I honestly feel that maybe it wasn’t a necessary move, but I think that the Jury had their mind made up before they were willing to hear anything I had to say. I honestly believe that, especially now after hearing some of the things I heard. I guess it’s understandable. I sent a lot of people to the Jury angry, and I was up against a very likable opponent. Not to mention he’s a 21-year-old kid with some college debt he made known. Then you have a 29-year-old guy who’s won the game before and has had a little success, sitting against a kid who has six hundred dollars to his name. Even just on the surface, it’s a pretty easy vote in that regard.
Q: Speaking of that necklace, did you buy it from Target or was it really your Grandfather’s cross?
Dan: It was given to me by my Grandfather who had passed away, so it’s actually a real necklace that does mean a lot to me. The second that Ian voted out Danielle, he gave it back to me, and I’m wearing it right now. That was his collateral in case I didn’t keep him.
Q: You mention sending people to the Jury angry, yet we’re curious as to why you didn’t let the Frank/Jenn evictions go to a tiebreaker and then force Ian to handle the vote.
Dan: That’s a great question. At the end of the day, especially with the Frank situation, I just pulled off that move to get Brittany out of the House. I couldn’t really afford to lose any ground within the Quack Pack, so I figured if I threw my vote that way, it would definitely jeopardize my position in that alliance in the House. The same thing happened with Jenn. I told her right before the eviction that she was going home no matter what, and that I hoped she understood why I had to do what I had to do. I just felt like doing that wouldn’t really gain me a ton of ground with Jenn and Frank’s vote because eventually they would have found out on the Jury anyway. My whole goal was to get to the Final 2, get one of those seats and give myself a chance to talk some people into throwing a vote my way. Had I not done those things, had I not thrown a vote that way, maybe I don’t then get to the end. Maybe I do. Maybe I don’t.
Q: Talking about the Final 2: Some viewers think you might have done better against Danielle. From what we heard from the Jury, it sounds like they were dead-set against you, but do you think you would have had a better shot against Danielle?
Dan: In hindsight, she might have been a lot less harsh on me and maybe not as pointed as Ian, but at the same time, I think you’re right. I think, regardless, they were not going to give this game to someone who had won it before, and especially another coach who had success in the game by backstabbing everyone. That’s why I feel good about doing what I did. I left everything out on the field. I don’t have any regrets. I don’t feel like there were any major blunders that I made that really cost me this game.
Q: If you could pick one of those Jurors to switch seats with Ian, who would have given you your best odds at winning?
Dan: That’s a great question. In my dream Final 3, it was myself, Danielle and Jenn. I was going to hopefully get Danielle to dump the HOH to me and I’d take Jenn. I figured that was my Golden Ticket. That was my surest way to scrounge up 4 votes. When things didn’t go that way, I knew I was in trouble. One thing I look back on was Danielle talking me into keeping Shane when I had him on the platter. That’s one thing that maybe would have kept Jenn in this game longer. The other thing with that, too, was in taking Jenn to the Final 3 is that I had to win to get in because Jenn wasn’t going to take me, and Danielle might not have taken me because she thought she could have beat Jenn. At the end of the day, like I said, it was my goal to secure a seat in the Final 2, and when I blasted Shane out of the House, I knew that both Ian and Danielle were going to take me, so I felt pretty good about that.
Q: What was the thought process like to create the Funeral? When did you figure that out?
Dan: The best thing to ever happen to me in this game was getting that trip to solitary confinement because when you lock a mind up like mine in a room for 24 hours, it’s crazy and capable of coming up with some antics. All I had to do in that room was sit there and think, to come up with different scenarios on how to get myself out of that mess. I wouldn’t respond to anyone who knocked on the door because I wanted them to think that I was mentally not right in the head, so the second that solitary confinement door was opened, I was playing the game. I was in Zombie mode. I don’t know how many people saw that, but when I came out of there, I acted like I wasn’t right in the head and I was seeing lights. Then I went in the Diary Room to go talk to a producer to get my mind right. As soon as I came out of that Diary Room, and I saw the entire House was in the living room, all based of the concern of me acting like a Zombie, I knew I had a shot to stay in the game well before the Funeral. That’s really when I saw a glimmer of hope, when I saw how concerned how everyone was about my well being, which I was faking at the time.
Q: How easy was it for you to mislead Danielle? Do you feel bad or was that a piece of cake for you?
Dan: The thing that made that a little bit easier was the fact that we had been together since Day 1 and I was the Coach and she was the player and she really respected my game from before, so I had a lot of built up credibility with her. Not to mention that I always would sit down with her every day and help her with what she should be doing in the game, so I built up this relationship where I made some moves, but I never put her in harms way. That really, really made it a lot easier for me to get her to do certain things or get her to spill information to me because we had that relationship since Day 1.
Q: During the Jury Questions and your Final Speech, you seemed a little rattled. Do you think you choked? Did you not feel on top of your game after losing the third part of the 3-part HOH competition?
Dan: Personally, I didn’t feel rattled, but I started to feel the sentiment a little bit that it wasn’t going to go my way based on how the questions were directed at me. At that point, I couldn’t back down and I just had to fire back. I had to go hard against Ian and even cut him off a few times during his answers because he took a lot of credit for things that he didn’t necessarily do. My only shot was to blow up his game a little bit, but at the end of the day, I felt that I did everything I possibly could. I heard through Twitter that Brittany said I couldn’t beat a bottle of ketchup in the Final 2, and she’s probably right. I don’t think there was any way that any Jurors were going to openly give the winner a second chance to win the whole thing again.
Q: A lot of people are saying that the Jury was bitter. Do you feel that it was a bitter Jury?
Dan: I don’t know that it was so much bitter, but I don’t think that they voted based on strategy or they couldn’t remove their emotions from the vote. All they saw was a sympathetic figure in Ian, and me, who was some kind of cunning backstabber, and I just felt like a lot of them were blinded by their emotions. That really falls on my shoulders for not being able to convince them. At the end of the day, I put them there and I had a shot to convince them in 90 seconds, but I couldn’t get it done.
Q: I think that you were amazing to watch, but at the end, the necklace and whispering to Shane that Danielle had played him all along was overkill. Did your gut ever tell you that it might have been too much or did you think you were playing a solid, diabolical game?
Dan: I never looked at it as playing a solid, diabolical game. I looked at it like this: when I knew I had to play a ruthless game, you can’t play at half-speed. You’ve got to go all the way. Once I turned that corner and decided I had to stab everyone, I knew I couldn’t only stab half the people; I had to go all the way. At the end of the day, that was going to be my pitch to the Jury. I played this game without a heart, and I was willing to do anything at any time, regardless of how diabolic it was at the time. I don’t regret that. It’s just me. Anything I do, I do 110%. I can see how you could see that as overkill, but for me, I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. If that was the game I was going to play, I wanted to drive the stake all the way through.
Q: So, after speaking with Danielle, the consensus is that your biggest misstep was not winning the final part of the HOH competition. Did you throw that one?
Dan: Contrary to popular belief, I actually didn’t throw it. Ian flat out beat me. I would have taken Ian to the Final 2 anyway, but in hindsight, Ian and I both believed that Danielle was just so well liked in the Jury that we’d be slaughtered by her. When you’re in that House, you only have so much information and your gut instinct to go off of, since you don’t get to see the Jury banter back and forth, so that’s why I felt good about everything I did. With all this extra information, of course I would have changed my decision, but at that time, there was no way I was going to take Danielle.
Q: It seemed like you had Danielle wrapped around your finger, but the night before you evicted Shane, they had their first real kiss, and Danielle told us earlier that she would have taken Shane to the Final 2, so you played out the final HOH comps exactly the way you needed to.
Dan: You know, that’s funny to hear because I think she’s just covering her bases. There was nothing she was going to do in that game against me, so I understand she kind of has to save face, but I don’t buy that one bit. People ask me why did I cut Shane if you knew that Ian was going to be a harder Final 2, and my answer to that was because I knew I would get to the Final 2. If Shane won that Final HOH, I wasn’t getting to the Final 2. I knew that if Ian or Danielle won, I would be sitting in those chairs. It worked to that point. It just didn’t get me over the hump to get four votes.
Q: Regarding Frank and Shane, are you willing to work on rebuilding those friendships?
Dan: That’s the thing, when I play a ruthless game, that’s just me in the House. The second I step out of there, I’ll help anyone, I’ll talk to any of the former Houseguests, especially the new ones because getting out of that House and getting back to real life is not an easy thing. I’ve already done it, and that’s what I feel can be a real asset since some people are going to need the help, especially someone like Frank. I really sympathize with his journey to even get on the show. It took him so long, and as you know, I wrote a guide on how to get on reality TV, so here’s this guy who took 3 years to get on and now he’s going to have a tough time getting adjusted. Frank’s a smart guy. I would anticipate that as time goes on, you’ll see me talking to Frank. To me, it’s not a matter if I’ll talk to them, it’s just a matter of who wants to talk to me. I have no harsh feelings toward anyone.
Q: In your day-to-day life, will the kids you coach see you differently after seeing how you played this game?
Dan: That’s the real funny and ironic thing because it seems like the people you think wouldn’t understand the things that I did in the game are the people that actually do understand. The 17 and 18-year-old kids that I coach are really the most understanding cause they look at it as a game. They don’t look at it as real life. At the same time, I teach my players to play as hard as you possibly can within the confines of the rules of the game. In football, my players are playing whistle to whistle. They’re not doing anything dirty because there are rules against that. In Big Brother, there are no rules, so I’m playing as hard as I can, no matter what I have to do.
Q: Which season did you enjoy more, and which was more difficult between the two?
Dan: This season was extremely, extremely difficult for me for multiple reasons. To start, everyone knew who I was and the game I was capable of playing. Also, the competition was a lot stiffer. In terms of overall enjoyment, I definitely enjoyed both in different ways. [Big Brother Season] 14 was cool for me because I got to play against legends like Boogie and Janelle, and got to know what a great player Brittany was first hand, so that was fun for me in that aspect to play against people that I watched before. In my first season [Big Brother 10], I felt like I had a little more fun because everyone was on the same even footing and I made a best friend in Memphis, where we rode it out to the end. I just remember the end days with Memphis were a hundred times more enjoyable than the end days with Ian and Danielle due to the fact that with Memphis and I the game was over. We trusted each other, and it was just us two in the House, hanging out. With the Final 3 of Ian and Danielle, there was a little bit of an age gap between us and we kind of ran out of things to talk about. Where as with Memphis and I, we were just two guys hanging out. In that regard, I enjoyed both seasons in completely different ways, but season 14 was very, very difficult for me.
Q: At the end of your first season on Big Brother 10, the Jury Questioning was completely different. You had more time to talk to the Jurors than you did this year, correct?
Dan: Yeah, basically, the Jury was set. It was just Memphis and I. We had a night to just talk to them, and there was no time limit. I think I might have talked for four to five minutes, and that was a speech I had crafted and had a lot of time to think about. With the way season 14 was set up, it’s a lot more difficult to pull a long term mist on a Jury because I had 90 seconds to squeeze in everything I did that I felt was worthy of winning the game. At the same time, I knew that, so ultimately, it falls on my shoulders for not convincing the Jury this time around.
Q: Also, by the time they got to the Live Show, it seems like they had already decided on whom they were voting for.
Dan: You know, I had heard it put in a creative way earlier. It was said they all got together and said, “Well, whom are you voting for? I want to vote for the winner, too, so…” and they just kind of made a group decision. Which is unfortunate because the only thing I wanted was a fair shake at four votes – to have 4 people with an open mind to at least consider it. It didn’t bother me, but it’s kind of a little disappointing to hear after the fact that Jenn voted based on solely because she didn’t want to give this game to someone who had won it before as opposed to how they played the game. That’s what’s disappointing to me as a player and a lover of this game.
Q: Going into the Live Finale, did you think that you had anyone’s vote in particular? If so, who and why do you think you weren’t able to ultimately get their vote?
Dan: I was hoping that I could put Danielle’s vote in the bank, and it sounds like I barely got that one with the way she said it. When I didn’t get Jenn’s vote, I knew I was in trouble. To me, that was the nail in my coffin because she had made it well known that she didn’t like Ian and she didn’t respect him as a player, but all of a sudden she pulls out a key with Ian’s name on it. That one stung a little bit because I knew I needed that one to even stand a chance to win the game, so I knew it was over when I saw Jenn’s vote.
Q: Did you learn anything that surprised you since the game ended?
Dan: The one thing I thought was pretty cool that I wish I would have known in the House was the fact that Frank’s dad is Sid Vicious. We had a wrestling conversation and he told me his dad’s name was Sid. I said, “It’s short of Sidney, right?” He said, “No, it’s Sid.” We talked about how he use to like Brett Heart and Macho Man Randy Savage, and it kind of makes sense – the guy was doing upside-down push-ups on Day 2. It’s kind of cool that his dad’s a pro wrestler. I think I would have been more in awe, and we would have had a lot more to talk about.
Q: At the very beginning of the season, when it was coming down to you having to kick someone off your team the first night, Danielle came to you and said she believed that Jodi would cause all sorts of drama. Was there something that happened that we didn’t get to see that caused everyone to think Jodi would be full of drama, and how did you come to the decision to pick her for eviction?
Dan: That’s a great question. There were two things I evaluated to make that decision and one huge thing I learned after I the eviction happened. The two factors I used to vote out Jodi was that during the challenge I knew she was trying and she fell off the mat a few times, but then she laid there for 30 seconds and then she walked back. I’m not expecting everyone on my team to be a physical beast, but you can always give effort. You can jog back or walk really fast back, so when she kind of just laid there and didn’t give it 100% to get back, it showed me one side of her. The second thing I used to evaluate on who to cut at that early stage of the game was that I pulled each girl into the room alone and said, “Who do you want to go to battle with?”, because at the end of the day, I’m coaching, but it’s their team. Kara said Danielle, and Danielle said Kara, so Jodi was the odd person out. I didn’t want to force a player to play with someone they didn’t want to play with because you’re going to have disharmony within the team. The funny thing was that a week or so after I made that decision, I found out how much damage Jodi did in the House after only 6 hours. She had ruffled a lot of feathers and called people out. She had outted Jenn in a matter of a few hours, so for me that validated my position. I talked to Jodi since the game ended and she’s a sweetheart, so it would have been fun to see her play the game because we talked about her every single day. We talked about her for 75 days, and she was only in the house for six hours.
Q: What’s in the future for you? Will you come back for another All-Star season?
Dan: I’m definitely going to spend a lot of time with my wife because I just spent 75 days without her. I’m going to go back to doing what I was doing before. The cool thing for me when I walked into the House was that Ian Terry came up to me on Day 1 and said, “Dan, I read your guide on how to get on reality TV.” To me, that was really cool because I was really passionate on helping other average people like Ian and myself get on TV. Some people are just a tweak away from having a real shot to getting on reality TV. I feel like I came into this House with a very difficult road and I accomplished what I set out to do. I think it’s time for me to take Chelsea by the hand and ride off into the Big Brother sunset. I finished in the Final 2 twice. I’ve played twice. I don’t know what else there is for me to really accomplish in this game at this point.
Q: Thanks for a great summer, Dan!