Mount Union Alumna, ESPN Anchor Collins ’07 Advises Students

April 04, 2017

Toni and ThomaALLIANCE – “It’s not about the size of the school you come from, it’s about your passion, your drive and how much you want it.”

That was one of the final thoughts Antonietta (Toni) Collins ’07 shared to a room of more than 50 students and staff members at a question and answer session Tuesday in the Gallaher Theater of the Giese Center for the Performing Arts.

Collins, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in media studies from Mount Union, is currently an anchor and reporter for ESPN in both the English and Spanish markets. She also played soccer at Mount Union and knew she wanted to work with sports, but was not sure what area garnered most of her passion. She then continually worked with the Department of Communication and the sport business program to find opportunities to network in her field.

“I got an internship as a board operator in Tampa [Florida] and I was a little nervous at first,” Collins said. “But my time working with WRMU at Mount Union prepared me and actually made me feel really comfortable in my new position.”

Collins also interned for the, now defunct, Youngstown SteelHounds of the CHL, and worked for Univision and Fox2 news, both in Rio Grande Valley, Texas before her time at ESPN. With Spanish being her first language, she worked hard developing her English skills, knowing how important being bilingual would be to her future endeavors.

During the session, Collins received a student question asking what challenges she has faced, if any, being a Hispanic female in the field of sports journalism. “Proving to [your peers] that you do care about what’s going on is big,” she said. “Although I learned quickly that even though I’m female, having a Hispanic background is a positive and garners trust in the baseball community, so the thoughts of the players aren’t lost in translation.”

Being constantly surrounded by some of the biggest names in the world of sports still is not lost on Collins. She mentions how shy of a person she can be while referencing pep talks from Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis, and interviews with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in the same sentence.

Stuart Scott, the late ESPN icon and Sportscenter anchor, ran into Collins her first year at the network and told her, “Shoot me an email because I know it can be overwhelming, but just have fun with it.” Interacting with down-to-earth colleagues who appear larger-than-life to many watching at home frequently reminds Collins to work harder to achieve her goals every day. 

“Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to hopefully portray the right message,” Collins said “In the future, I would love to continue to be a relied upon anchor and reporter, but I mostly just want to be a really good storyteller. I would love to be a female Tom Rinaldi and tell great stories that relate to people.”

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