Michele Tafoya is an American sportscaster who works as a sideline reporter for NBC Sports. She currently appears on 'NBC Sunday Night Football', and has previously worked on 'Monday Night Football' for ABC and ESPN. She has also served as a sideline reporter for 'NCAA on CBS', 'NFL on CBS', 'ESPN College Football', and ESPN's 'Monday Night Countdown'. In her childhood, she dreamt of becoming an actress like Meryl Streep and often entertained her family members with her skits. In her teens, she struggled with the eating disorder anorexia, but was able to recover and make a career in sports journalism. She relocated from her hometown of California to Minneapolis to work as a radio show host; however, her plans of staying there for only a year changed, and she ended up settling there permanently. As a very successful sports reporter, she has achieved many firsts, including winning the Sports Emmy award twice.
Childhood & Early Life
Michele Joan Tafoya was born on December 17, 1964, in Manhattan Beach, California, United States, to Orlando and Wilma Conley Tafoya. Her engineer father was a sports fanatic. Since she was very close to her father, she grew up watching different sports on television and playing basketball in school.
She enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983 and received her bachelor's degree in mass communications in 1987. She later earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Southern California in 1991.
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In March 1993, Michele Tafoya was paired with sports talk show host Gerry Vaillancourt on WAQS-AM in Charlotte, where she went by the name Mickey Conley. In doing so, she became the first female analyst to call UNC-Charlotte men’s basketball games.
She relocated to Minneapolis on New Year’s Eve in 1993 for a hosting and reporting job at KFAN sports radio for Minnesota Vikings and the University of Minnesota women's basketball broadcasts. Meanwhile, she also served as a Minnesota Timberwolves host and a sideline reporter for the Midwest Sports Channel and a play-by-play commentator for women's Big Ten basketball and volleyball.
In September 1994, she became a game reporter and studio host for the sports anthology show 'CBS Sports Spectacular', a program that covered NFL, college football and college basketball telecasts. She made her on-air debut during the 1994 U.S. Open Tennis Championships. She also hosted 'At The Half'.
In 1998, she hosted CBS' late night Winter Olympics programs and the Goodwill Games. She also worked as a sports anchor and reporter at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis between 1995 and 1998. She was a WNBA commentator on Lifetime between 1997 and 1999.
She left CBS at the end of 1999 and joined ESPN and ABC Sports in January 2000, following which she took up a variety of on-air roles. She served as the sideline reporter for ABC’s 'Monday Night Football' for two seasons between 2004 and 2005, and then joined ESPN’s 'Monday Night Football' in 2006.
To focus on her family, she resigned from her responsibilities as head NBA sideline reporter on October 21, 2008. Later, in April 2009, she returned to WCCO-AM as the new evening drive time talk radio host, working in that position until January 2012.
On May 4, 2011, she replaced Andrea Kremer as the new sideline reporter on 'NBC Sunday Night Football', continuing to hold that job profile until now. She was assigned to report the swimming competition during the 2016 Rio Olympics. She later joined as the co-host of 'The KQ Morning Show' on KQRS-FM in September that year.
Michele Tafoya is best recognized for working as a sideline reporter for 'NBC Sunday Night Football'. She is also well-known for working on 'CBS Sports Spectacular' and 'Monday Night Football' for ABC and ESPN.
Awards & Achievements
Michele Tafoya became the first woman to call television play-by-play of an NCAA tournament game while working for CBS in 1996. In the following year, she received the Gracie Award for Outstanding Achievement by An Individual On-Air TV Personality for her play-by-play calling of WNBA games on Lifetime Television.
She is the only person to have been nominated for the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Reporter award in all seven years since its inception in 2011. She has won the award twice; in 2011 and 2013.
Family & Personal Life
Michele Tafoya met Minneapolis-based financial advisor Mark Vandersall in 1993, and got married to him on May 30, 2000. She had four miscarriages before successfully giving birth to son Tyler in 2005. The couple adopted a girl named Olivia from Colombia in 2009.
According to Michele Tafoya, her parents were expecting a boy when her mother was pregnant with her because she used to kick very hard in her mother's womb. They had even selected the name ‘Michael John’ for their baby, but they had to later change it to ‘Michele Joan’ after she was born.