Dianna Russini is an American sports journalist best known as the anchor of the sports news shows 'SportsCenter' and 'Sunday NFL Countdown' on the global cable and satellite sports television channel ESPN. She currently hosts the weekly show 'NFL Live'. Prior to joining ESPN in 2015, she was the main sports anchor at WRC-TV (NBC4) in Washington, D.C., where she reported on major live events on TV and social media. She previously worked as an anchor and reporter for both news and sports for NBC Connecticut. She covered the Boston Marathon bombing and was one of the first reporters on the scene during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. She started her TV career as an intern at ABC News for Diane Sawyer and WABC, and later worked for Comcast Sports in Seattle, WNBC in New York City, and News 12 Westchester, N.Y. She was an athlete herself during her student years and played women’s soccer for 4 seasons in university.
Rise to Stardom
An "abnormally curious child", Dianna Russini's interest in journalism developed when she was in school, but due to her active involvement in sports, journalism had to take a backseat. She was a fan of CNN anchor Robin Meade, but was still undecided to pursue journalism full time until the 9/11 attacks happened in 2001. Her father was in Tower 1, but survived the fateful day, following which she made up her mind to become a journalist. During this time, she was just five weeks into her college soccer career at George Mason University. While still at college, she revived her interest in journalism by doing internships at some local radio stations after soccer practices.
She became a Student Sideline Reporter for Comcast in 2003 and continued until her graduation was completed in 2005. For the next couple of years, she was a reporter for News 12 Westchester. For almost a decade, she worked at various news outlets, including WNBC, Comcast Sports and NBC. Her background in sports allowed her to bag sports assignments often, which included covering the UConn women's basketball team for NBC Connecticut and the Washington Redskins for WRC-TV.
In 2015, she was the local sports anchor for the parents of Rob King, who runs 'SportsCenter' on ESPN, living in Washington D.C. Thanks to their recommendation, this eventually led to her anchoring job on 'SportsCenter' in July that year, which made her a well-known television personality.
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Controversies & Scandals
Soon after Dianna Russini bagged a spot on ESPN in 2015, she was dragged into a terrible controversy. Jessica McCloughan, the wife of Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan, accused her of being her husband's side-chick via her twitter account and also claimed that she provides sexual favors to players to get information about her stories. Interestingly, her twitter account was soon deleted, prompting some to speculate that it was hacked. However, she later issued a statement apologizing to both Russini and to ESPN for her inappropriate behavior and disparaging remarks, and also clarified that her comments do not reflect the opinion of Redskins organization. Nevertheless, Jessica McCloughan was severely criticized by a number of reporters for having prejudiced notions about female sports journalists.
Dianna Russini was born on February 11, 1983, in Bronx, New York City, New York and grew up in Norwood, New Jersey, where her parents moved to provide better opportunities to their children. She has an older brother and used to play baseball with him and their father. She attended Old Tappan High School in New Jersey where she developed an immense passion for sports. During her high school years, she was an All State athlete in four different sports: basketball, soccer, softball and track. Training under Brian Dunn as her head coach, she excelled in basketball, even though her strongest suit was track, while she was relatively weaker in soccer. Despite being an undersized forward at 5-foot-6, thanks to Dunn's tough training, she became a three-year starter and lockdown defender for the varsity basketball team.
Following her high school graduation, determined to prove that she could make it to the Division 1 level, she decided to enroll at the Fairfax, Virginia campus of George Mason University as a soccer walk on. She gained 20 pounds extra weight by her sophomore year and became the starting striker of her university team. She graduated from university with a Bachelor of Arts and Journalism degree in 2005.
While Dianna Russini maintains on social media that she is single, she has been romantically linked with a number of people. She was rumored to have dated American baseball player David Wright in 2008, but the relationship reportedly didn't last over a year. It has also been rumored that she is secretly engaged to a Manhattan Hedge Fund manager.