Antonietta “Toni” Gonzalez-Collins ’07

Major: Media Studies
Job Title: Sports Commentator

Employer: ESPN

As a sports commentator, I get to be submerged in sports all day. I’m always watching ESPN. My focus is with ESPN Digital Media, which means content across computers, smartphones and tablets. For example, in September, ESPN Digital Media reached 72.7 million unique visitors, the largest monthly unique reach ever within the sports category. On a daily basis, we monitor the headlines and stories on ESPN.com and interview NBA, NFL and college football ESPN analysts and insiders as well as reporters with the latest headlines in any sport.

MY EXCEPTIONAL STORY

My Second Home
My older sister moved to Canton, OH because of her job when I was a senior in high school. Over the summer I visited her and she took me to this college she came across that she thought I would like. She sure was right. I fell in love with Mount Union’s campus and it offered the major I was looking for, so it was an easy fit from the start. It quickly became my second home, my sanctuary. I wasn’t just going to class, Mount Union truly became my home away from home.

Passionate Professor
My favorite professor was Mark Bergmann, manager of WRMU 91.1 FM. He is so passionate about journalism. In every class and in every project, he had this passion and excitement to see us learn and grow as students. He always made me believe I could do this whole reporter/anchoring gig. He also was always so excited with every project and every class that I always wanted to continue to get better and never let him down.

Internship Opportunities
As an undergraduate student at Mount Union, I majored in media studies and minored in sport management. I knew I wanted to get more invaluable experience outside of the classroom, which is why I interned during college for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Youngstown SteelHounds, a CHL minor league hockey team. Dr. Jim Kadlecek, associate professor of human performance and sport business and chair of the Department of Human Performance and Sport Business, and Dr. James Thoma, professor of human performance and sport business, helped me obtain these internship opportunities. During these internships I was able to see different sides of the business. At the Cleveland Cavaliers it was more of a fan experience on game day, customer service and a behind the scenes in the front office. For the Youngstown SteelHounds I started as a behind the scenes game day intern. I did everything from dressing up as the mascot and stapling papers to getting props ready for game day and fan interaction. I eventually was able to be on camera, interview the players before and after the game and do activities with the team and the community. I tried the ticket sales side of it as well by cold calling during off season to see if it was my passion but quickly realized that having that microphone in my hand and being able to tell the story of the day or week was more of my thing.

Making a Name for Myself
I grew up in a bilingual home. My parents are from Veracruz, Mexico and Spanish was my first language. I learned English when we moved from Mexico City to the United States in 1992. I have been bilingual since I was nine years old and boy did this help me 100% to be where I am right now in my professional life. Following graduation, I became a reporter for KNVO TV 48 Univision in Spanish and at the same time was a reporter for Fox2 News in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. I would report for the 5 p.m. news in Spanish, report and eventually anchor the 9 p.m. news in English and report again for the 10 p.m. newscast in Spanish. Mount Union prepared me for my career in every way. I believe it was the solid foundation that I needed to be able to develop and grow as I moved up in my career.

Mount Union Memories
While on campus I was a member of WRMU 91.1 FM and the women’s soccer team. Some of my best memories from college are meeting my best friends through the soccer team and sideline reporting at the football games. The social environment was great, but honestly, I just treasure the time I was able to spend with the people that today I still call my friends.

Future Career Goal
I currently work for the worldwide leader in sports. The people I get to call colleagues and learn from is a dream come true. I work amongst my idols, great journalists, anchors and athletes. I hope to one day be able to be a part of Sports Center.

Following graduation, I became a reporter for KNVO TV 48 and at the same time was a reporter for Fox2 News. Mount Union prepared me for my career in every way. I believe it was the solid foundation that I needed to be able to develop and grow as I moved up in my career.

Fun Facts

What is number one on your bucket list?
Visit every baseball and football stadium in the USA
Who are your heroes?
My parents… I’m so blessed to be their daughter
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who chew like cows … loud and with their mouth open! Haha
In a meeting with your peers, is your phone on the table, in your pocket or purse, left at your desk or in your car?
In my pocket, just in case…
What is your least favorite movie?
The Exorcist
What is your favorite kind of sandwich?
Italian BMT with avocado and hot sauce
When is your usual bedtime?
11 p.m.
Do you dance in the car?
Always!
What was the occupation you wanted to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to work for McDonald's because I was obsessed with their happy meals … I thought if I worked for them I would have a lifetime supply of happy meals and toys.
Did you ever win a contest? If so, what was it?
Yes, $500 bucks in a raffle draw at my first job! I forgot to bring money for a ticket and someone paid for me to join the raffle … and an hour later I was $500 richer!
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