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WomanOf the Month 10-07: Marcia Neville, Fox 31 Sports Reporter
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She’ll be the first to tell you she has the best job in the state—maybe even outside the state. “I get paid to go to sporting events,” she says. Marcia Neville has spent her career as one of the few female television sportscasters anywhere, and when she came to Colorado in 1983, she was the first. Her beat has been high school sports, and although she has no children of her own, she says she “appreciates the opportunity to cover yours on their best days and at some of the best moments of their lives.” At a recent Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Neville offered up some personal and career highlights of her own game of life.

Neville###s passion is helping underrepresented athletes get the media attention they deserve. As a child she was inspired by her mom, who was a huge football fan and who she grew up watching sports next to on the couch. “Mom can spot a hold faster than anyone I know,apostrophe Neville jokes. While women sports reporters were few during the ‘70s, Neville took the images of Jayne Kennedy and Phyllis George, the pioneers, to heart. “If they can do it, so can I,apostrophe she thought.

She was the first woman sportscaster in the city of Denver, in the state of Colorado, probably in the Rocky Mountain region. “As you do what no one else is doing, you don’t really realize you’re a pioneer,apostrophe she says. “You’re just doing what you want to do.apostrophe

Today there are nearly as many women sportscasters in Denver as there were in the whole country when Neville began her career. “Even my father-in-law has admitted that it’s almost o.k., sometimes, to get sports news from a woman, especially if she is me,apostrophe she jokes. She notes she was a rookie the same year as John Elway, but to compensate for the vast pay differential, congratulates herself on a much longer career.

She grew up in Monroe, N.Y., and graduated from Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. She began her career In Albany, New York, where she was weekend sports anchor at WNYT-TV.

In the time-honored tradition, she drove across the country with her mom in a Subaru in 1983 when she landed her job in Colorado. “I didn’t know a soul,apostrophe she recalls. “Everyone has their story of their welcome to Colorado. For Ceal Barry, former basketball coach at CU, it was when she saw Boulder spread out in front of the Flatirons. For me, it was driving on I-70 when you get to Burlington and you begin to see the peaks—that’s when I knew I had arrived. And if mom and I had still been on speaking terms after all those hours in the car—and we weren’t—I would have told her she was my role model. She was an equal bread winner at a time when most women weren’t. And she was a huge sports fan, watching the Phillies and the Eagles when she was growing up and watching the fights with her father. She passed that love on to me in the ‘70s when we watched football together on the couch.apostrophe

The role models who inspired Neville have prompted her to give back by serving on the selection committees for the “Sportswomen of Colorado Awardsapostrophe and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. “This is why I’m so passionate about showing positive images of girls in sports on T.V.,apostrophe she says. “When you see a three-sport all-state athlete with a 4.0 G.P.A, that has an impact. When girls see powerful women competing, they see that swimsuit models aren’t the only women who deserve to be included.apostrophe

While she’s seen everything from awe-inducing sports spectacles such as the Broncos’ Super Bowl triumphs, her favorite sporting event is a high school stunner: the state wrestling tournament. “It nearly sells out the Pepsi Center for three days, with schools ranging from as small as Wiggins to as big as Cherry Creek. The energy is unbelievable. That’s what wrestling is all about.apostrophe

Neville notes she should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for pep rallies attended. “So much pep, so little time,apostrophe she sighs. With three seasons of high school sports, and 10 pep rallies a season for more than 20 years—that’s a lot of pep.

Neville faced a personal and professional challenge when she was laid off from her post after 24 years. But despite her initial cynicism about “clouds having silver liningsapostrophe, everything did turn out to happen for a reason. She switched to Fox 31 and is enjoying coverage that’s “better than ever. We cover 10 football games on Friday night, 2 MVPs (most valuable preps) every week, ten minutes of coverage on Saturday nights, and a video upload site on our website where people can upload every kind of events from drama to forensics to sports and share it with their school, the community, the planet.apostrophe That’s at www.foxhilitescolorado.com.

For all Neville’s passion for athletics and competition, she divulges that she was never an athlete, never coached, and can’t throw a softball. Maybe that’s what makes her the ultimate fan and so appreciative of those who can.