From Student-Athlete to Broadcaster

Michelle McMahon, former University of Michigan Volleyball player, is now making a name for herself in the professional and collegiate sports world as a professional sports television broadcaster.

At Michigan, McMahon was a Four-time varsity letter winner, Two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and a Three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. McMahon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Spanish.

McMahon currently works as a sports broadcaster for the Dallas Stars and the Big Ten Network.

McMahon has experience working and covering the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL and college football, hockey, basketball and volleyball. She has hosted in studio shows as well as done sideline reporting and been a volleyball analyst.

From Student-Athlete to Broadcaster

After graduating in 2012 from Michigan, McMahon was initially unsure of her future, until she stumbled upon the idea of sports broadcasting.

“In college I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and Michigan didn’t have a journalism program so sports broadcasting for me was basically off the radar. One of my teammates was doing some BTN volleyball broadcast and I thought it was really cool and that got me interested in the field,” McMahon said.

McMahon originally took a logistics job working in Chicago with the hopes to work her way into BTN and broadcasting. Thanks to her dedication, drive, and tenacity, that is exactly what she was able to do.

“I started at the women’s sports report show once a week and I was the volleyball analyst there and I was brand new to the industry. My working at BTN kind of started with a rejection of ‘no we don’t have space for you, sorry’ and then I convinced them to still let me come in for the audition and that opened the women’s sports report spot. That was like earth shattering for me to get that opportunity,” McMahon said.

This opportunity was all that McMahon needed to realize her passion for sports could continue in the form of a broadcasting job, so she set her sights on following that passion.

“I was doing a sales job, working on building my broadcast resume by doing high school sports and a lot of low-level stuff to get experience. I started to build up enough time and skills behind the scenes at the network to be able to be self-sufficient as a one-man package. I really wanted to follow my passion of sports and broadcasting, so I ended up quitting my sales job to launch myself into broadcasting full time,” McMahon said.

Bringing the Student-Athlete Work Ethic to the Workplace

McMahon felt prepared to take on new career challenges because of her determination and will to make it happen; a few skills that she learned during her time as a student-athlete at Michigan.

“This is where my student-athlete background helped because I had no clue how I was going to do it and didn’t have much experience, but I was determined, confident, believed in myself and had the will to make it happen. I knew it was ballsy, but I went for it and knew I would be okay,” McMahon said.

In order to propel herself to the top, McMahon decided to create opportunities for herself and use her work ethic to open doors.

“I was putting together hockey reports with BTN which is what launched me into hockey because the digital space was just becoming new, so I pitched a project to my boss. I loved volleyball and I wanted to do more than just analyze volleyball so I put together these hockey reports to show I could do more,” McMahon said.

Sure enough, the hard work she was putting in began to bring more opportunities forward and next thing she knew, she got a job working covering the NHL for the Carolina Hurricanes. More and more opportunities came to follow for McMahon after that.

“I was nervous, didn’t know if I had enough experience but I was their host and reporter for the hurricanes for a year. Then the NHL came knocking and I took that job. From there, I was able to go back to BTN in the capacity I wanted and doing college football and volleyball and hockey and a mix of all the sports,” McMahon said.

Bounce Back and Thrive, the Former Student-Athlete Way

Similar to the rest of the world, COVID-19 caused a temporary wrinkle in the rising success of McMahon in the sports broadcast world.

“COVID hit and everything got cancelled and the need for sideline reporters was no longer there. I genuinely thought this is where my broadcasting career ended, and I took a year off,” said McMahon.

McMahon knew her passion for sports and broadcasting deserved another shot and so did the Dallas Stars.

“Then the Dallas Stars came knocking and seemed like the perfect job. The prerequisite for me in my career at this time was that they were good people, and it was a good fit. That led me to where I am now,” McMahon said.

Despite the ups and downs that life may have thrown at McMahon, she found a passion and ran with it.

“The biggest thing having a student-athlete background helped me with was being able to navigate challenges and not losing myself in the process. I had an unwavering belief in myself because I knew that the hardest thing that I had ever gone through was being a student-athlete,” McMahon said.

As a sports broadcaster, McMahon offers a unique perspective as a former student-athlete herself who was once the one playing on TV rather than reporting sideline.

“I can relate to what these athletes are going through at this high level because I was in their shoes once,” said McMahon.

The Future for McMahon?

McMahon has enjoyed success in sports as both an athlete and a broadcaster and is looking to continue along the path she has set for herself.

“My goals and plans are to keep aligning with what brings me joy, purpose and fulfillment and hopefully find a way to make money doing it. I love sports broadcasting and plan to follow this path until something else really grabs me. The main thing I want is to be happy and to be surrounded by good people. At the end of the day, it’s the quality of people I’m surrounded by that matters most for me,” said McMahon.

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