“Wear your white coat,” was the only instruction Nancy Mello received before leaving for Friday’s on-site assignment at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. She’s both a guest of Mike & Mike (simulcast from 6-10 a.m. ET on ESPN Audio and ESPN2) and the first “Mess” responder that might be needed when the Mike & Mike The Mess portion of the program begins at 8:30 a.m.
Both the site and assignment are among the unique responsibilities Nurse Mello’s undertaken since joining ESPN as its Occupational Nurse in 2006. “I would never have expected some of (the duties) to be in my job description,” she says.
Mello, a Quinnipiac University graduate, was dubbed “ESPN The Nurse” by Mike & Mike co-host Mike Greenberg while she served as safety insurance for “Greeny” when he paid up for losing the 2007 “Sheets of Integrity Bracket Wager” to Mike Golic by milking a cow in-studio.
Now a fixture at the wager “payoffs,” she’ll once again be on-scene Friday morning: This time, Greeny has to navigate an obstacle course created for Mike & Mike The Mess.
“I couldn’t do this without Nurse Mello,” Greenberg says. “Her very presence puts me at ease.”
Last year, Nurse Mello was at the ready just off-stage – a pair of crutches by her side – as Greeny performed (injury-free) with Dancing with the Stars’ Anna Trebunskaya.
While her most recent out-of-office assignment was to go across campus to accompany players attending last month’s WNBA Draft, few assignments compare to monitoring Mike & Mike pay-offs, like Golic’s full body waxing in 2009.
“They’re a lot of fun. They are exactly what you see on TV,” Mello says of the 14-year co-hosts. “They seem to be good losers, but I guess Greeny’s better at it because he loses more [his record stands at 4-6].
“This is definitely not your average corporate nursing job,” says Mello, who previously worked as a case manager for Oxford Healthplans Insurance and at New Haven’s Saint Raphael Hospital. “The one question I am asked by all nurses when they find out I work at ESPN is, ‘Do you need any help?’”
It’s a question she’s hoping not to have to ask Greeny after he completes the “mess”tacle course.
Mello is among the on-set guests scheduled for Mike & Mike on Friday, with her appearance set for 6:50 a.m., Bob Ryan at 7 a.m., Greeny’s wife Stacy Greenberg is slated for 7:20 a.m., Bernard King at 7:30 a.m., Tom Izzo at 8:15 a.m. ET, SportsCenter anchor and co-host of ABC’s Wipeout John Anderson is scheduled for 7:50 a.m., Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski at 8 a.m. and Bill Wennington at 9:15 a.m.