Hailing from West Michigan, Michelle “Meesh” McMahon is a freelance sports broadcaster, located in the Chicago area. She is currently a studio show host, sideline reporter for all of college sports on Big Ten Network. She also serves as a studio show host and the sideline reporter for the Chicago Blackhawks on NBC Sports Chicago.
Michelle is the second youngest in a family of six and immediately learned to embrace the natural red hair as a signal that she was always destined to be unique. Her fiery red hair encompasses her feisty and outgoing personality. Michelle has brought “the fire” to the world of sports since she was five years old. After many years of experiencing nearly every sport in the book, Michelle channeled her focus to the one that ended up taking her the furthest—volleyball.
After embarking on the once in a lifetime journey to play Division One volleyball, Michelle embraced the athletic and academic challenge at the University of Michigan. She pursued a degree in Communications and a minor in Spanish at Michigan, where she was also a four-year member of the women’s varsity volleyball team.
Michelle began her sports broadcasting career in Chicago upon graduation as a volleyball analyst for Big Ten Network. She also worked various full-time sales jobs in Chicago, while also pursuing her passion of sports broadcasting. Hungry to break into the industry, she quit sales and leveraged her passion and knowledge for sports, as a former Division I athlete, to grow into a bigger role as a sideline reporter, show host, and production assistant at BTN.
Under her own ambition, Michelle utilized her range of skill in front and behind the camera to launch weekly BTN Hockey reports in which she produced and hosted. She was then found and hired by the Carolina Hurricanes to serve as the sideline reporter and show host for each broadcast on FOX Sports Carolinas.
After a year with the Hurricanes, Michelle was promptly promoted to the national stage with NHL Network where she hosted NHL Now Monday through Friday and contributed on MLB Network.
In addition to service as the Chicago Blackhawks sideline reporter on NBC Sports Chicago, Michelle is a weekly reporter, host, and analyst for Big Ten Network.
Her genuine and fun personality is what distinguishes her as a unique talent.
Michelle contributed to the advancement of an Elite eight regional final and two Sweet-Sixteen Regional’s in the NCAA tournament for the University of Michigan.
She received academic All-Big Ten accolades while at the University of Michigan all four years and was a three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honoree for maintaining a GPA above a 3.7. She was also honored with the Mary Lou Butcher Equality in Journalism award for adamantly pursuing a career in broadcasting as a female.
In high school I was told that as a 5’4” volleyball player I was “too short,” and that there was no way I could play volleyball for Michigan.
In college, I was frequently told I was not the best player in my position, and probably not good enough to see the floor on game day.
In sports broadcasting, I was often advised to seek alternative career paths and pursue other options, this industry is “too competitive” and a “man’s world” after all.
In high school, I was offered the opportunity to walk on and play volleyball at the highest level for the University of Michigan—I accepted.
In college, it wasn’t until my senior year that I got my first collegiate start—I successfully impacted my team.
In sports broadcasting, BTN offered me an opportunity upon graduation— I jumped at the chance to pursue and expand my dreams.
So here’s my advice to anyone and everyone: naysayers are always going to underestimate you and deter you no matter how capable you may be. I’ve been in the “underdog” role many times in my life, but I couldn’t control that; the only thing I could control was my work ethic, mindset, and attitude.
Had I listened to naysayers, I would not have made it to The University of Michigan, I definitely would not have pursued collegiate volleyball, and I most certainly would not have looked into sports broadcasting as a career path. There is so much freedom in realizing that no one else has control over what you can accomplish in this world and in your life. If you are passionate enough, work hard enough, and consistently embody a positive attitude, you can accomplish anything. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Life is your journey, allow your passion to lead you to your purpose, and don’t be afraid to own it.
I leave you with the words from my life long mentor from the University of Michigan, Mr. Greg Harden:
“Fear is normal—you must face fear and be aware that fear and self-doubt are the greatest enemies you will ever face. Control the controllables, never let yourself play the victim, and most importantly always believe in yourself. You are special.”
Be kind. Be humble. Believe.