PMHS alum Kevin Clancy turned social media into a career with Barstool Sports

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PMHS alum Kevin Clancy turned social media into a career with Barstool Sports

Kevin Clancy (left) and John Feitelberg (right)

Kevin Clancy (left) and John Feitelberg (right)

Kevin Clancy (left) and John Feitelberg (right)

Kevin Clancy (left) and John Feitelberg (right)

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When PMHS class of 2003 alum Kevin F. Clancy worked in a cubicle, he’d spend whatever free time he had talking to his buddies about sports, celebrities, the news and pop culture. Clancy found a way to escape his office life and make a career out of his pastime. Now an internet personality, Clancy has racked up hundreds of thousands of followers blogging, podcasting and tweeting for the media company Barstool Sports.

Barstool Sports began in the early 2000s as a men’s lifestyle blog with a de facto tagline: “This is everything you’d talk about when you’re sitting on a barstool with your buddy.” Since then, it’s spiraled into much more. 

Barstool Sports has expanded into a $100 million company with a wide audience. According to Clancy, also known by his pen name, KFC, with more female fans and employees than at its founding, “(Barstool Sports) is more than just men’s lifestyle. It’s pop culture and lifestyle in general. It’s morphed into a comedy brand.” Clancy’s ultimate goal is to make people laugh. “I am trying to entertain you, as I was once sitting in a cube looking for funny, edgy stuff to read or listen to,” he said.

Clancy jumped from the cube to blogging, and now gets to interview and hang out with the likes of Kevin Hart, J.K. Simmons and Dennis Rodman. He works with friends, can make his own hours, and has full creative freedom with his work. However, the jump wasn’t exactly easy.

After graduating from Pelham, Clancy went to Fordham University undergrad and proceeded to get his MBA there as well. He worked as an accountant and was able to find a steady, well-paying job in New York. But with little ability to express himself creatively, Clancy felt restrained. That’s when he began reading blogs, including Barstool Sports.

After about a year of working at his office job, in 2008 Clancy decided to start his own blog, ForSureNot. With Clancy writing about current events or the nostalgia of growing up in the ‘90s, what started as a hobby to pass spare time at work began to pick up some speed. Before he knew it, he was getting a few hundred consistent readers, generally fresh-out-of-college young adults.

“It never got big,” he said, “but I knew I kinda had something when friends of friends of friends started talking about it.” 

With a still-small following, the 2009 Barstool blog wasn’t the social media company it is today — but it was looking to expand. Knowing the Barstool writers would love ForSureNot, Clancy’s friends urged him to apply to run Barstool New York. It was a huge leap for his blogging career. But it meant leaving behind his accounting job.

“It was a pretty good job,” said Clancy. “I hated it, but it paid well. I had benefits. I got my MBA. I was deep in the finance realm.” Nonetheless, Clancy decided to apply, show ForSureNot to Barstool and see where it took him. Unexpectedly, Barstool President Dave Portnoy told Clancy that he’d already seen his blog and liked it. 

Throughout the summer of 2009, Clancy kept working in the office and blogging on ForSureNot, waiting to find out if he got the job. He has lucky to learn that Portnoy was stuck between him and another blogger, Keith Markovich, and had resolved to let them split the duties and pay. This allowed Clancy to keep his office job and all of its benefits while pursuing his blogging passion on the side.

Once he started at Barstool, there was little stopping him. For two years, he lived a double life blogging and working in the office. Soon enough, he was ready to make the complete transition to a media career.

“It eventually got to the point where Barstool was stable enough, and I was really slacking at work,” said Clancy. He decided to fully commit to the blogging lifestyle and became one of the leaders in pushing Barstool forward. “I think I’m kind of a guinea pig, in a way. I’m always thinking of what’s next because I’m always cognizant of the fact that the internet never stops.”

In the past decade, Barstool has blown up, giving writers like Clancy a big platform. The growing fan-base nicknamed themselves “stoolies.”  A tradition began to hold up Barstool signs in the background of live television programs. Clancy had the ability to watch Barstool grow into what it is today.

“The moment I realized that something was going on was when there was a Barstool sign at Buckingham Palace when Kate and William got married,” he said.

Clancy’s work now often involves interviewing celebrities, including people that he grew up idolizing.

“It’s fascinating to talk to people who are super wealthy, successful and famous,” he said. “But the ones that connect to my childhood or things I’m passionate about are who I like to sit down with. I’m very grateful that I have a job where I can be creative, funny, make my own hours and do what I want to do.”