Fans Favorite

UGA Alum moves to ESPN College GameDay

Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

If you’re an SEC football fan, then you know Maria Taylor.  The former Georgia volleyball and women’s basketball player is a star in the sports media industry.

The former SEC Network analyst is embarking on what many consider their “dream job” in the sports media industry. Taylor will be a co-host on ESPN’s “College GameDay” and as a sideline reporter for the network’s top game of the week.

It’s amazing,” Taylor said in a phone interview with Gridiron Now. “It’s not something that I could ever dreamed of when I started calling volleyball games for ESPNU back in 2011. But when I got the call this May I couldn’t it. I kind of thought it was a prank. Then I started to realize this an opportunity to be at a national championship game for football and be on the sidelines for part of the broadcast. That is the one I am really, looking forward to.”

She starts off her College GameDay debut in Atlanta, a city that she knows all too well.  Taylor’s first on-camera College GameDay experience is one of the most-anticipated season opener in college football, Alabama and Florida State in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

I just can’t believe it,” Taylor tells SEC Country. “One, I can’t believe that the first game of the season is Alabama and Florida State. On top of that dream, being in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time and being in my hometown of Atlanta, the very first time that I work Game Day, the very first time I work and ABC prime game will be in my hometown.”

The call for College GameDay came in May from Lee Fitting, senior coordinating producer for ESPN college studio shows, during her birthday week.  Taylor was preparing to spend time with friends, when she picked up the phone and her life changed.

“You don’t ask any questions after that,” Taylor said. “You just say, “Thank you.”    

Taylor’s career progression lead up to this big career moment in her life.  In 2009, Taylor graduated from Georgia with a degree in broadcast-news.  From 2009-2011, she was a full-time production assistant with International Sports Properties and helped cover Georgia athletics and freelancing with networks, such as ESPN, FOX Sports South, and Turner Sports. She earned a Master of Business from Georgia in 2013.

And when the SEC Network launched in 2014, Taylor become a bright, upcoming star. She hosted SEC Nation with Marcus Spears, Tim Tebow, and Paul Finebaum. Taylor’s perspective on SEC college football; I enjoyed on SEC Nation. She added a layer of fun and excitement to the show every Saturday morning.

Also, she worked as sideline reporter with Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer on SEC Saturday Nights. She took on other roles such as working volleyball and women’s basketball events, in addition to hosting ESPN’s coverage of the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament.

Taylor learned quickly what many sports media professionals know. You have to be versatile whether it is hosting, sideline reporting, and coverage from the studio or interviews in live or taped environments.

For me personally, seeing Maria Taylor on ESPN “College GameDay” just made my college football Saturday a bit brighter.  I know that she will be exceptional!

Congratulations Maria Taylor, we salute you!  You’re a fan’s favorite!!

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