For more than 10 years, North Texans have turned to Emmy-award winning, WFAA Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus for his steadfast dedication to deliver the most accurate forecasts. When there’s a looming weather crisis, you know Pete is rolling up his sleeves to get to work, ensuring that television viewers—not to mention his 176k Facebook fans and 360k Twitter followers—know when and where to take precautions.
Pete Delkus has taken social media by storm. He admits that the first thing he does each morning is check his Twitter account, @wfaaweather, to tweet about the forecast, post a beautiful skyscape, or facetiously take credit for a school closing, due to bad weather.
Pete’s one-of-a-kind, the real deal… not that you should measure a man by his social-media fanfare, but guess what? Pete also lives in Plano, so to us, he’s kind of a big deal.
Did you know our weather guy was also an outstanding baseball player in another life?
Pete’s all-star college and professional baseball career included six years in the Minnesota Twins organization and a trip to the College World Series. Pete was an All-America, sidearm-style pitcher with a fastball in the mid-80 mph range. (Scouts in the 90s tended to pick pitchers who light up the radar gun.)
Read on to really meet Pete.
- Pete Delkus: A good sport (the baseball years)
- Pete Delkus: A new forecast (from sports to weather)
- Q&A with Pete behind-the-scenes
Pete Delkus: A good sport
Raised in the small town of Collinsville, Illinois, Pete grew up in a family with all boys (two brothers), so, naturally, sports was a favorite pastime. Fast forward to 1987, when Pete was 21, and his baseball career took off. He was an undrafted free agent signed by the Minnesota Twins out of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, where he still holds several records as a pitcher.
Three years into his career, time and again, Pete was promoted to various leagues and was selected as the Twins Minor League Player of the Year, as well as the Rolaids Minor League Relief Man. Pete was on his way to becoming a Major League pitcher…but a sore elbow began to stifle his momentum. Two unsuccessful surgeries, from bone spurs and chips in his elbow, ended the game for the young pitcher.
With a bachelor’s of science in Radio/Television/Film, Pete interned at WFTV, the ABC affiliate in Orlando. The morning weatherman had passed away, and Pete was approached for the job. But because he was determined to go into sports, he declined the offer, not once, not twice, but more than three times. The bossman finally threw a hardball.
“Pete,” he said. “There’s this thing called the Internet that is about to revolutionize the broadcasting industry. I know you want to be in sports, but the Internet is going to allow people to check the scores on their own… and they’ll always need a weatherman.”
Pete’s answer? “No.”
Pete Delkus: A new career forecast
Twenty-seven years old and newly married, it was most likely his wife Jacque who urged Pete to buckle down and take the job. He did, finally, and later pursued master’s level meteorology courses at Mississippi State University. He also became board certified by the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association.
From Orlando to Ohio: Pete became the chief meteorologist at WCPO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati from 1996 to 2005, where he won two first-place Associated Press Awards for best regularly scheduled weather.
North Texas welcomed Pete in June 2005. He had big shoes to fill at WFAA-TV, Channel 8 replacing Troy Dungan, who charmed us with his trademark bow ties and garnered numerous awards over a 30-year span.
The transition from Dungan to Delkus was a relatively smooth one, though. Pete captured us with his passion—and he still does today. He hooks us with his delivery, the way he steps into the camera as if he’s right there in your living room, and he commands our attention, just as he did on the baseball field all those years ago.
But wait a minute! You might be asking: didn’t Pete Delkus retire?
The answer would be yes and no. He announced he was leaving WFAA in 2012, but then ended up returning!
Rain or shine, the spotlight was always meant for Pete Delkus.
A quick chat with Pete Delkus, behind-the-scenes
How long have you called Plano home?
We moved to Plano to work at WFAA, so 16 years now. Through TV and baseball, I’ve lived in many cities, and by far, Plano is our favorite. The exceptional schools, well planned and convenient layout, and friendly neighbors make it the perfect place to raise a family.
Who inspires you?
There’s really not any one person; it is more a combination of people. When I begin a new endeavor or task, I look to people who are successful in that area and model what they do—no need to reinvent the wheel.
When you feel you are getting burnt out, what motivates you to keep going?
One of the many benefits of playing baseball (or any sport) is that it builds perseverance and a never-give-up attitude. Especially, if you were like me and were told, “you will never make it.” That experience made me a very self-motivated person. I also still have my competitive spirit so I never want to slack off and let someone get ahead of me.
Do you reminisce often?
I don’t reminisce very often, but I have several friends from my playing days that are now coaching and managing in the Major Leagues, and when they come to town, it’s always fun to get together and catch up.
What would your 20-year-old self tell Pete Delkus today?
I am an A-type, motivated, planner so, I would tell my younger self to slow down and take the time to enjoy and appreciate today.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I spend a lot of my time watching my kids in extracurricular activities so, most weekends you can find me at a baseball field or listening to my daughter sing. And when time permits, I enjoy the great outdoors—hiking, fly fishing and bird hunting with my three dogs.
What is the number-one thing you want to be known for?
My Dad always instilled in my brothers and me, the importance of having a good reputation and being kind to others.
Note: This material is from a 2015 interview and story by former Plano Profile managing editor Britt Mott. Some details have been updated to reflect the present.