- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 07 December 2016
- Written by JOHN SORCE | SPORTS EDITOR
If you have watched any of the on campus ESPN3 broadcasts this semester, there is a good possibility that you have seen Suzi Mellano on camera.
Mellano came to Monmouth this fall as the Athletics department Digital Media Correspondent after graduating from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas with a degree in sports broadcasting in 2015.
“I was actually recruited to play volleyball there but I was cut in my freshman year before I could really be a part of the team. It was a disappointment for me but it is very difficult to play a division one sport being a sports broadcasting major,” Mellano said. “It was a blessing of disguise at the time and I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. If that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have been able to do the work that I did in school and I wouldn’t be here right now. I loved my time at TCU.”
Mellano grew up in San Diego, California and played many sports. Her favorite is baseball and she was the only girl on her team growing up before being the stat girl for her high school varsity team.
“It’s magical and there’s no other sport like it,” Mellano said about America’s pastime. “I grew up in a baseball family and I learned how to keep a scorebook when I was about six or seven years old. It’s just always been a part of my life and I don’t know what I would do if it wasn’t.”
It did not take long for Mellano to realize that she wanted to make a career in the sports industry.
“I’ve known that I wanted to be a sports reporter since about when I was in sixth grade,” Mellano said. “I remember watching baseball with my dad and it’s just always been what I wanted to do.”
Mellano had a total of eight internships while she was in college and those experiences were invaluable to her. She moved to Massachusetts and interned with the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod League the summer after her freshman year as their field reporter. She returned to the Cape the following summer while also helping the TCU media relations department throughout the year. She interned with Fox Sports Southwest in the fall of her junior year. In addition to high school sports, she was able to do some on-camera work and be involved with all of the professional teams in the Dallas area. The following semester, she interned at the CBS affiliate, KTVT, where she did a lot of similar things that she did at Fox Sports Southwest.
After her junior year, Mellano interned at MLB Network in Secaucus where she did a lot of what she referred to as “typical intern work.” But in order to stand out, she used some of her free time and researched how many players, who at one point played on the Cape, have appeared in a Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
“I pitched that idea to some of the producers and they picked it up and actually took me with them,” Mellano said. “It was cool to say I was one of the interns who got something real out of that experience. At a lot of big networks, a lot of people go to put something on their resume and then leave. For me to actually be able to contribute to the network as an intern was a really cool feeling. MLB Network was awesome. I made a lot of good connections and now I’m back in Jersey.”
Mellano worked with TCU’s “FrogVision” which is similar to the Monmouth Digital Network during her senior year. She did on-air reporting with many of the school’s teams. The program also had a timeslot where they ran on Fox Sports Southwest. She was also involved with the TCU student radio station for all four years and stressed the importance of internships for college students.
“Internships are so important because you make so many connections and they provide you with a different perspective than you will get in a classroom,” Mellano said. “Getting that hands-on experience and meeting people in different places is invaluable.”
After graduating from TCU, Mellano landed her first job at KXLH, a television station in Helena, Montana, where she served as the network’s sports reporter. She covered high school and college sports as well as Minor League Baseball. As she said, there was a lot more to it than just talking.
“It was a one-man band where I would have to go out and shoot, edit and write my own stuff. I even had to set the camera up by myself and check my own audio,” Mellano said. “I never had a cameraman and people expect there to be somebody there and you just have to stand there and say words, but there’s so much more to it. It was a small market but it’s very important for people to start there because it was a very humbling experience and you learn a lot in those situations.”
Mellano found out about the position at Monmouth through Twitter acquaintance and former Hawk Kevany Martin, who retweeted about the job opening.
“When I see people on social media who do what I do or are in a position that I can see myself in, I try to reach out to them and see if they will check out your reel or give you any kind of feedback,” Mellano said. “I made a connection with Kevany this way and we’ve been going back and forth for a while and then I saw her retweet the link to the application. I knew I wanted to work at a university from my time at TCU and I needed the sideline experience. When I read the job description, I knew this is what I needed to do. I contacted Kevany who immediately contacted Greg Viscomi who gave me an interview and it just went from there. Social media is very important and I can genuinely say that I saw and got this job via Twitter.”
Since arriving at Monmouth, Mellano has loved everything about the experience.
“The people here are amazing and it really is like a big family. It wasn’t the easiest transition coming from Montana to New Jersey - they are very different places. I can honestly say that I work with some of the best people that I have ever met and they made moving into this job very easy for me.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Jarred Weiss/Monmouth University Athletics