Sideline reporter Holly Rowe tells compelling college football stories in her ‘Front Rowe’ espnW series

Holly Rowe (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
Holly Rowe
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

Holly Rowe juggles many assignments for ESPN, working as a play-by-play announcer during the women’s collegiate basketball season and a sideline reporter for various sports ranging from college football and basketball to the NBA and WNBA. She’s also developed a video feature series for espnW entitled “Front Rowe.”

Each week, Rowe produces an in-depth feature that’s related to the college football game she’s covering or has covered as a sideline reporter. For instance, the Week 11 “Front Rowe” installment focused on an interesting aspect of the Nov. 2 Michigan-Michigan State game: Each school has a neurologist on the sidelines.

Rowe also is a one-person remote production unit for the “Front Rowe” series, with an assist from a Bristol, Conn. teammate for finishing touches.

“I shoot it on my iPad and edit it in iMovie. [Associate Producer, Original Content] Ashly Robinson puts in some of the graphics, b-roll and some music,” said Rowe, who learned some editing skills by attending Apple workshop classes. “I’m my own mobile studio, me, my iPad, tripod and microphone. It’s hilarious.”

Rowe tells Front Row more about “The Front Rowe” on espnW.

How do you discover your stories?
We’re always around programs every week. We get up close in personal. You run across stories that may not fit in the game context. This is one other avenue for it.

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Front Row vs. Front Rowe:

We noticed that Holly Rowe’s espnW “Front Rowe” video series’ name bears a striking similarity to our site’s moniker. We’re all for sharing but like any good news gathering operation, we launched an investigation to ensure there were no trademark infringements.

“It was [VP Content Program and Integration] Carol Stiff’s idea,” Rowe said. “I thought it was so cute. It played off my name, the name of the Front Row website, and then there’s the big W in ‘Rowe’ in the graphic to also emphasize espnW.”

So your lawyers will sit down with our lawyers to resolve any issues?

“I figure it’s my last name, so I have right of first refusal,” she said.

Good point. And heck, we’re all family here in the Front Row. And the Front Rowe. — FR Staff

Which story sticks with you the most?
My favorite one that I’ve covered so far is about the Clemson football managers with Down syndrome. These two guys that I met a few years ago at Clemson I would see every time I went down there and they would brighten my day. I was able to delve into it a little more this year and talk with their parents and other players about them. I loved this because they have made my day so many times in the past few years that I had to come to the bottom of what it is they add to Clemson football. . . Their new university president [Dr. Jim Clements] referenced our story in his speech to the university.

What piece best represents espnW?
The piece we did early in the season about TCU quarterback Casey Pachall and his addiction battle that he was facing. He was trying to overcome his addiction and come back to play college football. I was able to speak with his mom and his dad. I thought that this was a really neat story because I feel that other parents and moms that read espnW would like to hear about how he dealt with this difficult situation. I liked this story because I feel like it spoke to women, parents and their kids about what they could do in a similar situation and hopefully inspire them.

You covered Virginia Tech at Miami last week and are covering No. 1 Alabama at Mississippi State this Saturday (7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN). What’s the next “Front Rowe” about?
It’s coming out Friday, and it’s about Miami coach Al Golden and why he dresses the way he does on the sidelines. When he was at Temple, his mom [Toni] thought he looked sloppy. She asked him to dress nicer. He did, the team went on a winning streak, and so a superstition was born.

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