Mary Murphy is the television analyst for the New York Liberty and MSG Networks. She needs to know as much about the New York Liberty players, coaches and staff as possible. She also has to know, and appreciate, the history of the team and have a clear vision of where the team is headed for the season.
A former player and coach, Mary is also a big fan of the game. This helps her make intelligent, well-informed comments when she is on air. “I need to be able to convey my impressions, reactions and ideas about what just happened, what should happen and what might happen in the game I am covering,” says Mary. “Also, looking good and sounding good in front of the camera is really important. I cannot freeze and stare off into space,” she adds.
Plenty of Preparation
It seems so easy to get behind the microphone and talk about basketball. However, it takes plenty of preparation. For a 7 pm tip-off, Mary spends the early part of her day reviewing and revising her notes about the Liberty and the opposition. She them goes on to the Internet. “I check the Internet for any updates, news and scores from the previous night. I also check a number of newspaper websites for articles and opinion pieces. I’m looking for anything that will help me be more informed,” explains Mary. She then gets to the arena at 4 or 5 pm and checks on any recent information, such as whether any player is injured. “I watch and see if any changes have been made to the starting lineup, check on everyone’s health and get a feel for the team,” says Mary, who also talks to the players and coaches before the game.
From Player to Coach To Analyst
Mary has always loved basketball. She used play basketball with her brother John, one of her eight brothers. “On long family car trips, we would pretend we were doing baseball and hockey broadcasts. Who knew I would end up doing it for a living?!,” says Mary, who went on to play college basketball at Northwestern University, where she also earned her undergraduate degree in Education.
At the University of Notre Dame, Mary not only earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, but went on to coach the woman’s basketball team. She continued her coaching career at the University of Wisconsin and then for the Sacramento Monarchs of the WNBA. “This gave me a tremendous reservoir of experience, information, contacts and life lessons to bring to my career as a broadcaster,” explains Mary.
Her broadcasting career began by doing some television work for a local cable station in San Francisco, where she announced high school basketball games. For the past ten years, she has followed the road of many broadcasters, working at various stations all over the country before getting to New York City. “My new job with MSG is the best television opportunity of my career,” says Mary. “Working at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of basketball in this country, is as good as it gets!” she adds.
To follow in Mary’s footsteps, she says it is very important to learn as much as you can about your sport…play it, coach it, experience it at every level. “Work hard to get your foot in the door. Realize things do take time but dreams are worth chasing. I have a ‘regular’ job to fall back on if my broadcast career falters,” explains Mary.