Kate Scott, the new voice of the Philadelphia 76ers, discussed women in sports media and a Philly homecoming during the first “Pizza With the Pros” of the semester, on Monday, Feb. 7.
Rowan students joined Kate Scott in dialogue surrounding her illustrious broadcasting career and experiences as a woman in a male-dominated industry.
Prior to landing the gig as the 76ers play-by-play announcer, Scott had been breaking barriers at every professional level. Hailing from Fresno, California, she found her first full-time job covering Bay Area sports on the radio in 2011. Following a quick rise in popularity, Scott was offered to be the first woman to call an NFL game on the radio.
Scott recalled her gut reaction to the opportunity and how she didn’t want to mess it up for the women who could follow in her footsteps. Scott understood that being a role model would fall on her throughout her ascent in sports communications. At every step, whether it be calling play-by-play during NBC’s first all-female NHL telecast or being the first woman to call Olympic men’s basketball, she knew that thousands of women were looking up to her.
Scott has learned to manage the increased expectations of exceptional broadcasting.
The veteran broadcaster spoke on her “partnership with fear”, and how she uses it to her advantage, leaving a lasting impression on the hopeful play-by-play announcers in attendance.
Scott was prepared for the pressures of Philadelphia long before being hired and understood the extreme passion its sports fans share.
“It feels like I’ve come home,” Scott said, comparing the city’s love for its teams with that of San Francisco.
Scott’s playful personality comes through more over the air with every game she calls for the 76ers, but not without help from notable names. She credits NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Mark Jackson and Alaa Abdelnaby for doing their best to make her comfortable with being thrust into the position at the beginning of the season. Abdelnaby, the color commentator for the 76ers, continues to surprise Scott with treats before every broadcast.
If it were not for the late hire, Scott would have been the first full-time woman play-by-play announcer for an NBA team. A handful of days prior, Lisa Byington was brought in for play-by-play of the Milwaulkee Bucks, procuring the title. Both deserve grandiose respect no matter the timeline.
In a heartwarming moment, Scott addressed the questions of female members of Rowan’s Sports Communication & Media Department about the gender gap within the industry.
“We were all born not knowing sports,” Scott said, pushing women to keep their heads up and to move forward despite a feeling of ignorance in the male-dominated field. Everyone has the same starting point and everyone gets into sports at a different moment in their life, so it is unreasonable to compare yourself to others’ general knowledge.
Scott then chose to focus the discussion towards the male students in attendance. She emphasized the importance of acceptance and respect towards female co-workers as they continue their careers in sports media.
“You belong here,” is what Abdelnaby tells Scott whenever he can sense she is nervous. She used this as a comforting example of men and women supporting each other in the workplace.
Scott concluded her visit by discussing her experience coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Before meeting her wife, Scott had come out to her parents on her 21st birthday.
“You’re already trying to be a woman in sports, now you’re trying to be a gay woman in sports?” Scott’s mother jokingly responded. She came out on radio not long after, exposing her true self for the world to enjoy.
Although the odds have been against her, Scott prides herself on persisting through the storm. She hopes girls watching from home can think, “Well, if Kate is doing okay maybe I can too.”
Pizza With the Pros will return next Monday, Feb 14, when former sports-radio marketing director Cindy Webster visits Rowan University.
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