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Q&A; with ESPN College Football Live's (and Huge Husker Fan) Lyndsay Lee

By Huskerlocker @huskerlocker

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Husker Locker was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to chat with Production Assistant and Social Media Manager for ESPN College Football Live Lyndsay Lee about her experiences. Here is what she had to say about her time in Connecticut:
What got you into the world of sports journalism?
Like any other kid growing up in the 90s, I woke up every day and had breakfast watching SportsCenter. I grew up with two older brothers who wouldn’t allow me to be “girly,” and the only thing to do was watch live sporting events in my hometown.
To keep myself busy, I played almost any sport I could try out for, including hockey before there were any leagues for girls. Sports were my life. On top of that, journalism is in my blood. Both of my grandparents on my mother’s side were pioneering journalists in photo and print journalism. Put the two together, and viola: my initial passion for the sports television world.
How did you come upon your current job?
Drinking at Dillinger’s Bar in downtown Lincoln on a Wednesday...seriously.
I worked nearly full-time at the Husker Sports Network while at school and I met Sean Callahan there who was a regular guest on Sports Nightly as well as a sideline reporter for us during the football games. Luckily, I was one of the many that appreciated and frequently indulged in weekday drinking and ran into Sean when he was showing his friend and current ESPN Feature producer the town.
Sean introduced us, we talked sports, life and such and by the end of the night he had given me his card and told me to give him my resume. About two months later, I came upon an email from ESPN Human Resources IN MY JUNK EMAIL (thanks Hotmail.com) that said they wanted to interview me.
I interviewed in February of my senior year of college and got the job about three weeks later. If you were around the School of Journalism at that time, I was the girl bawling my eyes out and screaming in the lobby.
What’s an average day like for you or does such a thing exist?
Well, I have an outline of what an “average day” is, but since College Football Live is a daily college football news show things obviously change with the news. We meet in the morning and go over all the news that has happened since the last show, the big matchups of the weekend and what and who we want to talk about.
From there we figure out how we want to present the news. That may include working one-on-one with analysts on breakdown tapes or cutting a sound full montage of upcoming games, great players or just generic video that you see rolling over an analyst’s comments.
All of this comes under a daily deadline of 3:30 PM ET. It ends up getting pretty busy and stressful, but it’s definitely exciting. I tend to do more of the “high-end” treatments because I have been on the show for over three years, so I’ll do a lot of segment producing with analysts, opening teases, etc.

Q&A; with ESPN College Football Live's (and Huge Husker Fan) Lyndsay Lee

It’s apparent that you’re a big Husker fan. Does everyone else at the show have such a hardcore devotion to a school?
Oh man, we’re all die-hards here. I’m just probably the most biased. I usually bring up one Husker-related item in the meeting every day. The production crew is currently comprised of an Oklahoma fan, two Notre Dame fans (one of which is a former player), a Connecticut fan (they exist), a Georgia fan and me! That’s the great thing about working with a niche sport. It’s niche out here on the East Coast, at least. Everyone involved lives for this stuff.
How did you become a Husker fan?
My oldest brother Tony started the trend of us Lee kids going from North Dakota to Nebraska. He started in 1995 (not a bad year to become a Husker), my other brother Chris started in 1999, and then I started in 2004 (a HORRIBLE year to become an official Husker).
I always cheered on the Huskers as I was growing up, but didn’t really turn into the fire-breathing, rabid fan until walking into Memorial Stadium my freshman year in college. Covering the Huskers quickly became my job throughout college, so it was difficult not to become overly involved.
What’s the most memorable experience that you’ve ever had working for ESPN?
Wow, there are SO many to choose from, it’s hard to choose just one. Probably the coolest moment for me is when I was able to produce the College Football Live Top 20 Roundtables. I had the opportunity to produce segments with our best analysts in Kirk Herbstreit, Jesse Palmer, Craig James, Robert Smith and Urban Meyer.
I spent three hours producing those, and then proceeded to have lunch with the analysts. These guys are all really cool, but Urban was new to the team and I hadn’t met him yet. We were all sitting at lunch talking college football and Urban actually introduced himself to me. It was surreal that I had the opportunity to talk college football with some one of the best minds in the game and they thought my opinion was valid.
It was kind of an out-of-body experience. I felt blessed because I not only accomplished something for my career but also that I got to have this incredibly awesome moment with some of the best people in college football.
Q&A; with ESPN College Football Live's (and Huge Husker Fan) Lyndsay Lee

Do you have any plans to usurp Erin Andrews?
HA! No way! I plan staying far away from that side of the camera. I have a passion for the production side of things, plus Erin is way too great at her job for me to take over.
Have you worn any mascot heads during your tenure?
Never worn any, but have run around with plenty of them. Life on the ESPN campus is sometimes exactly what it looks like on commercials. I’ll walk into the café at work and the Stanford Tree will be walking through and just hanging out. It’s pretty awesome. I also find a way to rock the Nebraska helmet as much as possible while I’m here.
Who is your favorite ESPN personality and why?
Honestly, 99.9% of the ESPN talent is wonderful and is great to work with and for. That’s not the company line, I swear. Some of my favorites include Scott Van Pelt (loves college football and always brings up Nebraska with me), Dari Nowkhah (nicest guy ever and used to work in Lincoln so we talk Huskers/Sooners a lot), Kevin Negandhi (super cool and easy to work with).
Trevor Matich (He’s so dedicated to his job and has an incredibly unique view of the game), Kirk Herbstreit (insanely good at his job and is willing to do just about anything for your show, really nice guy), Trey Wingo (He’s hilarious and he’ll never give up on his Baylor Bears which I can respect), Erin Andrews (So fun and great at what she does, as a fellow woman in the field, it’s great to see her do so well. She’s a great representative for us).
My overall favorite is Barry Melrose. The guy is awesome, smokes cigars at work, talks college hockey with me and speaks his mind. His knowledge of the game is insane and what we leave on the cutting room floor with him is incredible. Plus, his mullet is unbelievable.
Q&A; with ESPN College Football Live's (and Huge Husker Fan) Lyndsay Lee

Many Husker fans feel that ESPN doesn’t give Nebraska a fair shake. Your thoughts on this?
Trust me, It’s a myth. There’s so much going on here, we don’t have time to pick teams we want to hate. I think a lot of people re-live the ever popular “Kirk Herbstreit Greatest College Football Team of All-Time freakout” and say, “Here’s evidence!” In reality, these analysts cover the scope of college football. They don’t have time to look at every team and break down every matchup, but I will tell you this: they know more about more teams than you could possibly imagine.
They may seem like they don’t mention Nebraska much, but really, Nebraska hasn’t been “relevant” again until recently. Sure it’s a top 10 traditional program, but NU also has to prove itself as a winner for us at ESPN to start talking about the program as a contender all the time again. I believe in the last few years, NU has been talked about much more, but of course they still have work to do.
There was a time when all ESPN talked about was NU being the premier program (I’ve seen the tape). We, as a fan base, have to be patient knowing that the media can’t cover every team on every show. Trust me, I bring up Nebraska often and try to work the Huskers in as much as humanly possible, but the only thing that will make Nebraska come up more often is winning. I promise ESPN does not have a bylaw that says, “You as an employee must hate Nebraska football.”
Any advice for the aspiring young sports journalists out there?
Work and work often. Education is nice, but in this field it’s really nothing without having a clip reel or experience to back it up. The more you work in the field outside of school, the more people you get to know that could possibly help you advance. Despite what it looks like or sounds like, this field is HARD. It requires you to work holidays, nights, weekends and being away from your family. If you want a “regular” job and life, this is not for you.
I have had so many amazing experiences being in this field, but I have also missed out on a lot of life events that were also important to me because I was working. I have chosen to dedicate myself to this field because my passion outweighs my pain right now. This sounds harsh, but it’s reality. Once the gloss of ESPN wears off, it’s a job that requires a lot of time and little room for error.
At the end of the day, I know I have an incredible opportunity lying with me here at ESPN. I’m getting to do things that people only dream of doing. When people ask me what I do for a living, I simply say, “I basically watch and talk college football for a living, it doesn’t suck.” That’s the truth. I’m blessed beyond words and look forward to where ever God takes me in this crazy journey in sports television.
Be sure to catch the fruits of Lyndsay's labors Monday through Friday on ESPN College Football Live at 3:30 PM ET.
Follow Lyndsay on Twitter: @L__Lee
Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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