Meet ESPN's Maria Taylor

As many of you know, ESPN’s College Game Day made a stop at OSU. Her Campus OSU was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit down with the show’s new host, Maria Taylor. Maria, a media icon, is fabulous example of a woman who is taking her career and the world by storm.

 

What school did you attend and what was your major?

“University of Georgia and my major was broadcast journalism”

 

How and when did you decide to take the sports route?

“Well, I always knew I wanted to work around sports. I didn’t know that I wanted to work in journalism. My best friend was a journalism major and she was my teammate too, we played volleyball together. I took a class with her my sophomore year and I was like ‘I like this journalism thing! Maybe I could do sports broadcasting.’ So, I changed my major three times. I started as pre-med, and then I was business and then journalism.”

 

Do you think it was more difficult building your career around sports as opposed to just being a journalist?

“It worked out for me because I was a student athlete. The first thing I ever did on television was a volleyball match so it worked perfectly. I just ran into whatever the funnel was that was getting me closer and closer to doing big time sports. I did volleyball and women’s basketball first.”

 

Reader Question: “I want to work in broadcast journalism. I’ve been told that upward mobility is a challenge in this field, can you speak on that?

“Absolutely it is. I think at the end of the day, when the door is open you walk through it. But you also have to not be afraid of taking a job that is maybe beneath you or not going in the direction you want to go. So for me, I only did radio and digital media when I started out. I only worked at University of Georgia’s athletic website. And I just did radio for volleyball. So it’s not difficult so much as it’s listen you’re going to have hurdles, it’s going to be a long climb. But you have to enjoy the journey because if you take your hits when no one is watching on like a television show that doesn’t matter, that’s better than taking them on ESPN or ABC.”

 

Reader Question: “Working in your field you obviously have to travel quite a bit. Do you find yourself changing the delivery of your show based on your location?”

“Absolutely, you try to incorporate the area that you’re in into the show. You want to be to true to that location.”  

 

Reader Question: “What are some of the things you do to prepare for your show?”

“Coaches meetings, going to practice, talking to players after practice, getting on phone calls with players. So Oklahoma this week, I probably talked to them on Wednesday on the phone. Making sure you’re reading articles and being up to date on what’s happening with the team so that when you do talk to the coaches or players you can ask them about those articles and news updates and just staying in tune with college football in general. You just have to be comfortable with the sport.”

 

How have you gotten your knowledge of football? Is it something that you’ve picked up on from your love of football or do you find yourself doing a lot of research on your own?

“So the first crew that I was on I had Matt Millen and Joe Tessitore and Matt Millen was our analyst. He used to also work for the Detroit Lions. I would get in on Thursday with him, I would go to practice, watch film and just be around the sport. There’s a lot of outside work, and you just need someone to be willing to bring you along.”

 

Reader Question: “How has being an African American woman proved to be a challenge for you in your field and how has it benefited you?”

“I think the challenge was me looking at television all the time and being like, “Well I don’t look like the typical sideline reporter so will I be able to be one?” So that’s something that you have to battle through and I had to kill that comparison bug. I realized that I cannot be a certain look, I cannot be a certain style but I can be me and that’s different and I have to take ownership and be confident in what I have to offer. And I think in the same thing that’s a strength because people remember who you are and you do look different. I’m 6’2 and I wear sneakers all the time, like it’s just not typical and so that helps to trademark me. It can be a strength, it makes you more confident because you don’t have a choice but to be.”

 

What it advice would you give to our readers and team members that are pursuing careers in broadcast journalism, television, and new media?

“Let everyone know that your goal is X,Y,Z. I always told people I wanted to be on ESPN so when a job came up people were like ‘you know what, Maria said she wanted to do this. I can connect this dot.’ It’s about networking but it’s also about not being afraid to let people know your dreams, your goals and your aspirations.”

 

What’s one thing that you would never wear?

“I would probably just never wear the color pink in general. Like pale pinks, I can’t do pastel things.”

 

Who are some big-name people that have been influential in your life and your career?

“ Robin Roberts for sure. I’ve talked to her on the phone before I’ve made big decisions. She’s the best.”

 

Who would you take on a date to space?

“To space? Oooh… Barack Obama. ”

 

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

‘Travel as many places as I can. I’m trying to get to all the continents.”

 

How do you pick your clothes for work?

“A lot of trial and error. I literally pick stuff out, try it on, throw it on the ground, pick something else out and throw it on the ground. One of my good friends, Megan Triplet, I always call her and I’m like, ‘what do you think about this or what about this?’ You definitely need an extra set of eyes.”

 

What is your favorite thing about your job?

‘Definitely meeting and talking to players and coaches. At the end of the day building relationships is something that I enjoy but being in the moment when they get a big win or a player has a really good performance and being able to share that with them is really cool. So that’s what I love, being on the sideline.”

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

“Good question. Hopefully, executive producer of some awesome show on Netflix.”