She’s traded her pom-poms for an ESPN microphone, but sideline reporter Molly McGrath returns to Boston College’s Alumni Stadium Friday night for what she admits will be a “surreal” evening.
Serving as the reporter for ESPN’s Friday night college football commentator team of Adam Amin and Mack Brown, McGrath will be back in Chestnut Hill to watch her alma mater take on No. 3 Clemson (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
McGrath, who graduated from BC in 2011, was an Eagles cheerleader and was a familiar face around the athletic department, building relationships that helped her create a student reporter position within the department.
“I will admit. . . being back at Boston College as a reporter for ESPN will be surreal,” McGrath said. “I never would have guessed that I would someday be back on that field sans Eagle face tattoo, with a microphone in my hand instead of some pompoms.
“I’m just glad that I won’t have to scrub off said face tattoo before my postgame interview like I used to do when I was a cheerleader/reporter! It will be very special and I’ll probably have an ‘I can’t believe this is happening’ moment during the Anthem. After that, I’ll do my job as if this was any other game.”
But make no mistake, even from her home base in Los Angeles, McGrath is an Eagle through and through.
“I don’t know if I would be in this amazing position at ESPN if it weren’t for the experiences I had at Boston College,” said McGrath, who also hosts College Football Live (daily on ESPN, 1:30 p.m.). “My senior year, I requested a meeting with then-Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo to pitch a student reporter position and asked him for access to the school’s coaches and players. He was supportive and quite honestly bemused by my request and said yes — as long as I did the extra work myself, I would be allowed to interview them, and post those interviews to the school’s website.”
From there, McGrath requested to do a weekly live show at BC’s busiest dining hall, and with the help of BC’s Associate Director for Marketing, Katie Foley, she was able to use those interviews, reports and show to create the demo reel that helped her land her first on-air role with the Boston Celtics.
“I am so grateful for these opportunities that sparked my career,” said McGrath, who joined ESPN this past summer. “I am most proud of the fact that the student reporter position still exists to give other young journalists the experience they need before graduation.”
McGrath is excited to return to Alumni Stadium.
“That was where I experienced the most exciting and heartbreaking moments of my college career,” McGrath said. It was on that very field that I watched Matt Ryan lead the Eagles to a No. 2 ranking in the country, watched my close friend Mark Herzlich lead the 2010 team out of the tunnel after overcoming bone cancer, and where I myself became a leader for my program and established comfort on the sidelines.”