Colorado Sportscaster Marcia Neville '80
In a field dominated by men, this sports journalist is a role model for young women. by Jeff Candura ’01
Marcia Neville’s love affair with sports began simply, sitting on the couch as a child watching teams battle it out on television. It wasn’t her father who cheered on the team with her and taught her the rules of the game, though — it was her mother.
My mom was a huge fan of the NFL,” remembers Marcia. “[She] would sit on the couch every Sunday, and that is what she did all day.” Inevitably, Marcia would sit next to her mother, who explained pass interference and extra points and passed on her love of football and sports. “She can still spot a hold faster than anyone I know,” laughs Marcia.
Other women also made an impression on Marcia as she sat on that Monroe, New York, couch watching the gridiron greats. “This was the ’70s, and the Phyllis Georges and Jayne Kennedys were just starting to show up in football coverage,” says Marcia of two pioneering female sports broadcasters. “Until you see someone like yourself do something, it never occurs to you that you can do it.” It was then that Marcia, who “loved sports and talking,” decided that she would someday follow in their footsteps.
Her career in sports has now spanned over a quarter of a century. But, she says, it might not have made it past the one-yard line if she had not first been fired from a TV show at Ithaca College during her freshman year. Broken-hearted, she was sure her broadcast career was over before it had started. But two friends comforted her. “They told me to come over and work with them at sports,” Marcia says, “which was really where I wanted to be. Getting fired turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.”
Since then, Marcia has spent much of her time covering high school sports in Colorado — a job she calls the “best job in the state.”
“I cover kids in the most exciting moments of their lives,” says Marcia. “The highs are higher, the lows are lower, the emotions are all right there. . . for pureness in sports, you can’t beat high school kids.”
Marcia has also built a reputation as a cheerleader for women in sports. Her award-winning quarterly documentary program, Colorado Sportswomen, focused on stories not covered in the traditional news media, those of female athletes and teams. At 13 years old, it was the longest running sports program in Denver television history. Unfortunately, it was a casualty of Marcia’s recent move from Denver’s CBS affiliate to rival Fox 31, where she hosts the nightly The Prep Zone. “We are still working to see where the show could fit in here,” Marcia says.
Marcia is glad of her role helping aspiring female athletes and broadcasters find role models. “If young women aren’t seeing strong, powerful, competitive women on television, how are they going to feel about doing this themselves?” she asks. “I am very proud that we‘ve given women in sports in Colorado a big push for a very long time.”