In September, ESPN broadcaster Beth Mowins will become the second woman to call play-by-play of a regular-season NFL game, the first since Gayle Sierens in 1987. Mowins, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., was captain of the basketball team while attending Lafayette College and earned a master's degree from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications. She has been working as a play-by-play announcer since her days doing Syracuse women's basketball. She has been calling college football since 2004 and is entering her third season as the preseason play-by-play voice of the Oakland Raiders. She spoke by phone from her home in San Diego.
Where were you in 1987 when Gayle Sierens made history? What did you think?
"I was 19. I found out about it through the paper and saw highlights of it after that. I thought it was fantastic. I always knew even then that I wanted to get into broadcasting. That was a door opening up for me, seeing Gayle do that. My dad kept a folder of news clippings of Gayle with her picture in the paper."
Where were you when you received the news and who was the first person you called?
"I was sitting where I am now, in my office at home. I got a call from (senior vice president) Mark Gross at ESPN. I looked over at my boyfriend and shared the news with him. It remained pretty much under wraps - I mean, this in late March. I really had to keep it close to the vest. ... Really, my late mom was the first to know. She's looking down over us. She is the first person who told me, when I asked her if she thought I could be a sportscaster, who said, 'Yes, you can.'
What convinced you to become a sportscaster?
"Remember Mr. Microphone? The toy microphone. Remember the commercial? The kid riding around with it on his Big Wheel? ... Hey, good looking, I'll be back to pick you up later. ... I had the microphone on the back of the Big Wheel and I'd go around and call Wiffle Ball games and kickball games. ... I like to say that this will be the first time I'll be calling Monday Night Football that it's nationally televised. But I've been doing Monday Night Football since I was knee high, talking to the screen in front of me."