ESPN Drafts Steady Stream of Stonehill Alums
The multinational sports media conglomerate has consistently found Stonehill College to be a reliable source of talent.
From the senior leader of the Stats & Information Group (SIG) to a digital producer who cuts highlights for major sports, ESPN has consistently found Stonehill College to be a reliable source for talented individuals possessing the knowledge, skills and experience required to help the multinational sports media conglomerate thrive.
The success of these alumni at one of the most recognized organizations in its field is a tribute to our graduates as well as an affirmation of Stonehill’s rigorous academics and its commitment to providing a holistic education.
“ESPN is a national sports broadcasting network and the top in its field,” says Rev. Kevin P. Spicer, C.S.C., dean of the May School of Arts & Sciences. “The presence of so many Stonehill alumni among its employees reveals the gifts and strengths of a Stonehill education that prepares our graduates to achieve amazing heights in any professional career they pursue.”
According to Andrew Leahy, director of career development at Stonehill, many of the College’s grads want to work in the sports world, making ESPN the perfect home. He also notes that the well-rounded nature of a Stonehill education makes the College an attractive talent pool for the network.
“Stonehill students learn they can use their education in a variety of ways,” says Leahy. “Our majors open numerous avenues of exploration and application, allowing graduates the flexibility to combine their knowledge, skills, interests and passions.”
Wide Array of Opportunities
Stonehill grads who have made the leap to ESPN have ended up pursuing diverse career paths.
John Parolin ’08, who regularly shares story bylines with ESPN senior writer and NFL draft analyst Todd McShay, has been at ESPN for over a decade and is in his fifth year as the research producer on Monday Night Football. In his role, he is responsible for providing the talent, show producer, graphics producers and rest of the show group with statistics, information, storylines and other items that help shape coverage each week.
“The rush of supporting a live event is what I enjoy the most,” says Parolin, a communication major who covered Stonehill athletics for the College’s radio station and newspaper during his undergrad days. “Good preparation is essential to this role. But once in a while, something pops up in a live game that you just can’t prepare for. Trying to execute those stories well on the fly is a challenge that energizes me, because doing it well is both difficult and rewarding.”
As a digital video producer, Alex Coppola ’12 has grown used to working in a frenzied environment. He cuts highlights to send to the network’s shows, website and app, as well as to YouTube — a job that can be demanding when there are 70 games happening at the same time, he says.
“I love the fast pace and intensity of the job; no two days are ever the same given the unpredictability of sports,” says Coppola, who also majored in communication. “One day you’ll be working on a game in which there’s a buzzer-beating shot by the Celtics and another day a game-winning goal in stoppage time in the World Cup.
Making the Most of Storytelling and Statistics
A production assistant working on SportsCenter at Night, Desmond Bernal ’21 credits his time at Stonehill for helping prepare him for his role at the network. The communication major says his classes got him ready for his job, where he works to “tell the story of a given game, player or team for sports fans all across the world.”
“My time at Stonehill helped prepare me for my job at ESPN because it helped me learn how to identify the facts or storylines of a specific game,” says Bernal. “In my journalism classes with Professor Maureen Boyle, learning to identify the who, what, where and why of a story translates immensely to my job today.”
For many of these grads, a career at ESPN is the realization of a lifelong dream. A former history major, David Carabello ’95 is now the senior leader of SIG, where he leads or executes various content, personnel and project initiatives, such as content development and management. For him, just being at the company is the best part of the job.
“It’s the top of the mountain for anyone who ever wanted to get into sports journalism,” Carabello says.