Michele Tafoya (born December 17, 1964, in Manhattan Beach, California), is an American sportscaster. Since 2011, she has been a reporter for NBC Sports, featuring as the sideline reporter for NBC Sunday Night Football.
Early life and career[
Tafoya received a B.A. in mass communications from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988, and a masters in business administration from the University of Southern California in 1991.
Tafoya worked as a host and reporter for KFAN-AM in Minneapolis, primarily for Minnesota Vikings and University of Minnesota women's basketball broadcasts. She worked for WAQS-AM in Charlotte, where she went by the name Mickey Conley. She was the first female analyst to call UNC-Charlotte men's basketball games.
Tafoya also worked for the Midwest Sports Channel, serving as a Minnesota Timberwolves host and sideline reporter, as well as a play-by-play commentator for women's Big Ten basketball and volleyball. Tafoya also spent three years at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis as a sports anchor and reporter.
Tafoya joined CBS Sports in September 1994 as a reporter and host for the CBS Television Network's sports anthology show CBS Sports Spectacular and college basketball coverage. She served as a host of At The Half and as a reporter for college football games. She made her on-air debut at the 1994 U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
In 1996, Tafoya made history at CBS when she was the first woman to call television play-by-play of an NCAA tournament game. In 1997, The American Women in Radio and Television honored Tafoya with a Gracie Award for "Outstanding Achievement by an Individual On-Air TV Personality" for her play-by-play calling of WNBA games on Lifetime Television.
Tafoya served as a reporter for the network's coverage of the NFL, college football – including the 1998 National Championship Orange Bowl – and was late-night co-host with Al Trautwig of the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
In addition to her diverse assignments, Tafoya hosted CBS' NCAA Tournament selection show, Goodwill Games and the U.S Open Tennis Championships coverage. She left CBS at the end of 1999, after five years with the network.
ABC Sports and ESPN
Michele Tafoya joined ESPN and ABC Sports in January 2000, and her profile has steadily risen through a variety of on-air roles. Tafoya worked for ESPN and ABC Sports as a sideline reporter for ESPN Monday Night Football beginning in 2006 NFL Season. She was the sideline reporter for ABC Sports' Monday Night Football in 2004-2005. Tafoya was a co-host for the Mike Tirico Show on ESPN radio. She helped ABC in their coverage of Super Bowl XL in Detroit as a sideline reporter with Suzy Kolber. Tafoya has worked as a sideline reporter since 2006.
She was loaned to NBC Sports for the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a Reporter for Rhythmic Gymnastics and as the play-by-play woman for softball.
On October 10, 2003, Tafoya purposely poured beer over two fans beneath her luxury box at the Metrodome during a University of Minnesota versus University of Michigan game. Tafoya admitted to losing her composure and said she was embarrassed over the incident. She also issued a public apology.
Tafoya formerly worked at NBA games on ABC and ESPN. On October 21, 2008, she announced she would be resigning from her duties as head NBA sideline reporter.
Tafoya's other previous roles included a stint as the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball play-by-play and studio host, and as a college football and basketball sideline reporter. She also has served as a substitute host on Pardon the Interruption and as a panelist on The Sports Reporters II. Her other ESPN assignments have included calling WNBA games, also hosting skiing telecasts and working on ESPN’s college basketball selection shows as a reporter. She also was a correspondent for SportsCenter and Outside the Lines.
In 2006, the Davie-Brown Index ranked Tafoya among the most likeable TV sports personalities, including Biggest Trend-Setter.
At the end of the 2010-2011 NFL Season, she left ESPN for NBC Sports.
Return to WCCO
Tafoya was announced as the new evening drive time talk radio host for WCCO-AM on April 20, 2009. Her show began on June 1, 2009 and ended on January 27, 2012.
Tafoya joined "The KQ Morning Show" on KQRS-FM as co-host with long-time KQ morning personality Tom Barnard on September 8th, 2016.
On May 4, 2011, Tafoya was announced as the new sideline reporter for NBC Sunday Night Football, replacing Andrea Kremer and rejoining former co-worker and announcer, Al Michaels.
Tafoya married Mark Vandersall in 2000, and gave birth to her first child in November 2005. Tafoya and Vandersall adopted a baby girl two years later. Tafoya lives in Edina, Minnesota. In 2007, she told WCCO-TV that she had been struggling with an eating disorder since she was a child. Her husband,Vandersall, is currently the co-founder of Hub Names LLC.
Tafoya is known for her political postings on her personal social media accounts. She describes herself as a "pro-choice conservative with libertarian leanings." She also said that she is pretty moderate in her beliefs and not an extreme or unreasonable conservative. Notwithstanding this, her sister worked for the Barack Obama administration.
- 1998: Winter Olympics Late-Night Host
- 1994–1999: NCAA on CBS Sideline Reporter
- 1998: NFL on CBS Sideline Reporter
- 2000–2003: ESPN College Football sideline reporter
- 2002–2003: Monday Night Countdown reporter
- 2004–2011: Monday Night Football Sideline Reporter
- 2002–2008: NBA on ABC and NBA on ESPN Sideline Reporter
- 2009–2012: WCCO Radio Afternoon Drive Host
- 2011–present: NBC Sunday Night Football Sideline Reporter