Thursday, December 6, 2007

On the fast track

In just three short years after graduating from Boston University in 2004, University of Minnesota assistant women basketball coach Marisa Moseley has worked at ESPN, where she won a Sports Emmy Award for excellence in sports programming, and is part of her second Division I coaching staff.

To call Moseley a fast tracker, might be overstating the obvious.

"Even though (her coaching career) hasn't been long," says Moseley, "I feel so fortunate and blessed on each step of my career. I have worked hard but I also have been very blessed."

Before being hired at Minnesota this past summer, Moseley served as an assistant coach last season at Denver University, where she also assisted in recruiting, travel and monitoring the players' academic progress.

Despite her youthful appearance, Moseley is wise beyond her early twentysomething years. This helped her greatly at the worldwide leader, where she worked for only a year, getting hired shortly after graduating from Boston University in 2004.

She got the job through the sports network's talent promotion series. "There definitely was a competitive nature (at ESPN)," Moseley notes. Her main job at ESPN was to watch countless games, and draw the right snippets to later show on SportsCenter, the network's crown jewel. She also worked on ESPNews and ABC NewsOne.

"It was all about what you saw in (those) two to three hours of the game," Moseley explains. "A lot of people were counting on me to get that video."

She recalled one embarrassing incident which occurred while doing her nightly duties. Moseley needed to get a tape to the studio room in 20 seconds. "I snatched the tape from (the editor), and I took one step and . . .

"BOOM! I fell right on the ground."

Despite the spill, Moseley still was on the clock. "I had to pop right back up," she continues, "and I ran down the hallway. I took a sharp left, and tossed the tape into the film room. The guy catches it and shoves it in, and it hit right at the second (the tape supposed to air).

"Everyone is dying (in laughter) around me," she surmises. "That was one of my humorous (moments)."

I once saw ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. I was there a few summers ago covering the WNBA All-Star Game, and I drove past it heading to my hotel, which was just down the street. On the evening I arrived, I thought I was passing some military base because there were these huge wall to wall satellite dishes that look like something out of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

I later learned from the hotel clerk that it was ESPN, who virtually owns the town of Bristol. Outside of the hotel, and a sub sandwich place, there is nothing else but them.

The next morning, I drove around it, hoping to get a closer look -- no such luck. IT is like a military base -- you need Homeland Security to even drive past it, let alone get in.

"It is absolutely huge," confirms Moseley of the ESPN 'campus.'

Although she is a former employee, Moseley says even she needs advance clearance to just stop by and say hi. "Whenever I go back, I have to call in advance and have them call down to the (security) booth to say that I am OK and put me on the guest pass list."

Albeit brief, Moseley believes that her ESPN experience has served her well. "How many people are touched by ESPN worldwide," she asks rhetorically, "and I had a chance to be part of it."

And she got an Emmy to boot. "It was a period of my life that I feel extremely proud about," says Moseley.

As much as she loved TV, she loves basketball, and coaching, even more.

"For me being a coach," says Moseley, "I love that I have an impact on players every day. It's not just making them a better player, but I love getting the chance of them coming by my office and sit down. That is my favorite time because of the conversations, whether you are joking or if there is something serious going on with family or their personal life. This is why I became a coach."

"She got great people skills," Minnesota Head Coach Pam Borton says of Moseley. "I think she is a diamond in the rough . . . we got a steal. She is a great hire."

Moseley's principal responsibilities is working with the Gophers' post players. She teaches more than just the basic drop step. "I think it is more the mentality of demanding the ball, (that) you are unstoppable there. It is a mental game."

Being a recent college player: Moseley finished as Boston University's third-leading shot blocker with 114 blocks in her four-year career (2000-04), she not only can teach her players but also can get down and dirty with them in emphasizing her points, says Borton. "She just did it four or five years ago, and it is still fresh in her mind. She can go out there and show the kids," the head coach notes.

She says she wants to be a head coach someday. Her personality, drive and determination certainly will keep Moseley on that fast track to her goal.

Moseley's interview kicked off my four-part series on Big Ten women basketball coaches of color (to read more, go to

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