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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

talking sports

Beadle and co-host Colin Cowherd on location for Veteran's Day at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Washington, D.C.

Living, Loving, Talking Sports

Michelle Beadle ’02 still giggles about her job at ESPN. On a recent Tuesday, she looked around the Bristol, Conn., newsroom and realized she was sitting next to three Harlem Globetrotters.

“It’s so weird,” she said quietly into the phone as she sized up the 7-foot-8-inch Tiny Sturgess, recently named the tallest professional basketball player in the world. “There are days when you will be sitting by your computer and someone famous will walk by. Or Arnold Palmer will be sitting in the cafeteria. It’s like a weird Disney World for sports fans. It’s kinda fun.”

This life-long sports fan, who once cried as a teen when her beloved Spurs lost to Portland, has worked as a co-host at the network’s SportsNation since 2009. She is also the co-host of Winners Bracket, part of the new ESPN Sports Saturday on ABC.

She still can’t believe her luck.

“I am always knocking on wood,” she said. “For me it was just a spur-of-the-moment career decision that I threw myself in as quickly as I could and I had some really good opportunities that led me here. It’s hard and you audition your butt off and you hear ‘no way’ more often than you hear ‘yes.’ But for me it has been really fun.”

After graduating from high school, Beadle attended the University of Texas at Austin. Just a few courses shy of graduating, she left school to do odd jobs across the continent. For a while she lived in Pensacola, Fla. Then she traveled to Canada to help breed Great Danes. She waited lots of tables along the way.

Three years later she returned home and decided to finish her communications degree at UTSA.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do,” she said. “The TV thing wasn’t even something I had ever thought about. I wasn’t outgoing in school. I was kind of quiet and sarcastic. So I think a lot of people that I went to high school with find this funny, what I’m doing now.”

An internship with the San Antonio Spurs gave Beadle her first experience in front of the camera. It didn’t go well.

“When I tell you it was horrible, I’m not even doing it justice,” she said. “I looked like someone who didn’t even know her name was Michelle.”

She took a cameraman’s advice to heart and it’s served her well ever since: relax and be yourself. The internship led to sideline reporting for local channels then eventually Fox Sports Net.

“And that was it,” she said. “I was like, this is an awesome, fun way to make a living.”

talking sports

Michelle Beadle '02 on set at SportsNation in Bristol, Conn. Courtesy of ESPN.

The girl from the ’burbs who had never even been to a rodeo started reporting on professional bull riding for TNN, now known as Spike TV. She had other jobs along the way, including stints with Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Major League Baseball and the NFL. But it was her job with College Sports Television, now called CBS College Sports, that finally took her to New York City, the place that she’d dreamed of calling home for years

Since then, Beadle has worked for the YES Network, the New Jersey Nets and People Magazine and has been a Red Carpet reporter for the Golden Globes, Grammy Awards, SAG Awards and the Tony Awards. She has appeared on Today Show, The Early Show, Extra, Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight.

When she’s not chatting about sports on national television, Beadle likes to watch wrestling and “girlie” shows like Gossip Girls. She admits to getting a kick out of the violence of mixed martial arts, a new obsession. But there’s nothing like getting together with her girlfriends, ditching the sports-talk and bonding.

“I really don’t live sports,” she said, adding that much of the appeal of covering sports are the stories behind the stats. “I feel like to do my job well, I can’t just know sports. You’ve got to be a good human. You have to know what’s going on.”

—Lety Laurel

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