New reporter for UT sports network grew up with the ‘excitement of college sports.’
Kaylee Hartung is one of the newest members of the Longhorn Network’s on-air team.
All Longhorns, all the time. It sounds like a sports lover’s dream — and Kaylee Hartung says it is.
One of the newest members of the Austin-based Longhorn Network’s on-air team, Hartung serves as host and reporter for a variety of pro- gramming devoted to University of Texas sports, big and small. Football, women’s basketball, swimming ... you name it.
The American-Statesman chatted recently with Hartung about her new gig:
American-Statesman: What attracted you to sports broadcasting?
Kaylee Hartung: I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, La. You couldn’t escape the excitement of college sports in that town if you tried.
My first memory of attending a sporting event was sometime around 1989 watching Shaquille O’Neal play basketball. In my mini-Louisiana State University cheerleader outfit, I was his biggest fan.
In the 1990s, LSU baseball had a historic run — five national titles between 1990 and 2000. And of course, there was always the craziness of LSU football.
I believe I was in middle school when I first set my eyes on a job in sports broadcasting. It just looked like a lot of fun.
How did you get into the business?
After graduating from Washington and Lee in 2007, there was a brief stint with a public relations firm in New York. It was a great opportunity, but my heart wasn’t in it.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself at the intersection of luck and persistence and got a job with CBS News’ Washington bureau. For the next five years, I had the great fortune to be Bob Schieffer’s assistant and an associate
producer for “Face the Nation.” My job evolved and in 2009 I began contributing to CBSNews. com.
Bob became aware of my passion for sports and made sure to let the folks at CBS Sports know of my interest. In the fall of 2010, CBS Sports Network took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to work the sidelines for two Navy home football games. Those two games turned into five that first season. And so on …
Where else have you worked?
After the excitement of that first football season with CBS Sports Network, I was hooked. As basket- ball season got under way, I was looking for ways to get involved. That year was the first of the CBSTurner Sports partnership for March Madness. During the tournament, I was involved on the digital side with CBS/Turner’s March Madness On Demand coverage.
After connecting with the Turner Sports folks, they put me to work covering college championships for NCAA.com. There was also work with CBSSports.com. A full football package with CBS Sports Network followed in the fall of 2011, covering Navy and Conference USA. And I continued my work with NCAA.com another year.
What’s it like to be a part of the LHN team? What, in your opinion, makes LHN unique?
Obviously the relationship between the network and the university is unique. I’m very grateful to the University of Texas folks for welcoming me into the family. Everyone from President (William) Powers to the managers on the football team have welcomed me and been incredibly helpful as I’ve learned the ropes.
I’m really proud to be a part of the LHN team. I think we produce a topnotch product day in, day out. It’s ESPN, but with a narrowed subject matter and a targeted audience.
I see what our “All Access” guys produce and I’m impressed more and more with every show I see. I see the graphics that get drawn up on a dryerase board in a production meeting and a few hours later they’re flying across the monitor in the studio. I’ll sit down for an interview for a feature story one day, ideas/edits for scripts will be emailed back and forth, then a day or two later I’ll sit in an edit both with the producer/editor and be amazed by the way that story has been taken to an entirely new level when you put pictures to words.
The magic of TV still amazes me.
What are your favorite sports to watch? Why?
My heart is in college sports. Maybe that will change as I get older, but growing up my love for sports was completely based around LSU.
I remember the Saints being the Aints. We didn’t have an NBA team or a pro baseball team. College football will always reign supreme in my mind, but college basketball and college baseball are pretty special to me too. There’s nothing quite like March Madness, especially those first couple of rounds. And I think the College World Series should be on every sports fan’s bucket list.
I also have great memories of watching golf with my grandfather on Sundays growing up.
Did you play any sports in high school or college? How’d that go?
I cannot claim to be an athlete. I grew up dancing competitively. That was how I channeled all my energy.
I was on the soccer team in high school, but it’s far fetched to say I actually played. I used it for the workout.
My parents were both athletes and my little brother was a high school quarterback, but somehow the athletic gene skipped me.
What’s your advice for someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
I always find it funny when I’m asked this question. I still need all the advice I can get!
I tell students that the job search begins with an internship. If you’re at a school where TV networks are covering sporting events on campus, find a way to volunteer and make connections. After that, my best advice is to be persistent.
The first job you get offered may not be the job you’ve always wanted, but you can make it a stepping stone. When you’re young — and you’re not married and you don’t have kids — don’t hesitate to work long hours, weekends and holidays. Make yourself available. Make sacrifices. It will be a lot harder to do later in life.
Kaylee Hartung is one of the newest members of the Longhorn Network.
Kaylee Hartung interviews Texas Longhorns football coach Mack Brown.