Stepping in for McDonogh, Tafoya makes TV history Sideline reporter 1st woman to do play-by-play in NCAAs

March 24, 1996|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

Quite unintentionally, CBS made history yesterday ever-so-briefly, as Michele Tafoya became the first woman to do play-by-play during an NCAA men's basketball tournament game.

Tafoya, who was assigned to the Midwest Regional final game in Minneapolis as a sideline reporter, was pressed into emergency duty when Sean McDonogh had to leave the air late in the first half of the Kentucky-Wake Forest game because of stomach flu.

Bob Mansbach, the CBS producer assigned to the Midwest Regional, said the production crew noticed "a lack of energy" by McDonogh before the game, but had no indication that he was too sick to work and could not give Tafoya time to prepare in case.

However, with about five minutes to go in the first half, McDonogh informed Mansbach and the production truck that he could not continue. Mansbach asked McDonogh to stay on the '' air until the next television timeout, which came on the first dead ball after the four-minute mark, at which time he left.

Fortunately for CBS, Tafoya, who lives in the Minneapolis area and has done men's and women's basketball play-by-play on radio and television, including two women's games for CBS this year, was on hand. After the commercial, she sat in next to analyst Bill Raftery for the rest of the half.

McDonogh told Mansbach he wanted to return for the second half, but also told the producer to take him off the telecast if he didn't sound up to par.

"I think the fact that the game got close helped him, but it was nice though to have Michele Tafoya around," said Mansbach.

McDonogh flew home to the Boston area after the telecast, which he finished without further incident.

Pub Date: 3/24/96

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