Marisa Jacques ’02 never had a backup plan. Which should come as no surprise to those familiar with her single-minded focus on a career in sports broadcasting.
Through the same kind of hustle that made her a force on the softball diamond, today she is a familiar personality in upstate New York: the sports director and broadcaster at the Albany affiliate of Time Warner Cable news.
On the advice of a friend who was a production manager at NBC Sports National, the Troy native stayed away from training in broadcast journalism to pursue a career in the male-dominated field. Instead, she “figured things out,” honing her analytical and writing skills through her major in English and her people skills through a minor in anthropology. She also credits her parents, not just for supporting her through college, but for giving her the confidence to pave her own way.
"I knew that [sports broadcasting] was something I always wanted to do,” she said. “That was my only goal and I would have gone anywhere to make it happen.”
Fortunately, she didn’t have to go far. During her senior year, when she also captained the highly successful softball team (which won the state championship her junior year), she began an internship with NewsChannel 13 in Albany, whose news director took her on the moment he heard she was from Union.
What Jacques didn’t know was that the news director was about to take the helm of the then-new Time Warner affiliate. Eager to fill the ranks of his new station with young and ambitious talent, he recruited Jacques and she joined after graduating from Union.
Starting as a producer and writer, she rose to become senior producer of morning news. At the same time, she was moonlighting in sports, taking afternoon naps between her job with the morning show and her evenings on the sidelines. Five years ago, she was named sports director at TWC News, which has four reporters on staff to cover a staggering array of events.
She worked hard and her timing was perfect. Capital Region sports have exploded in the last decade with success stories at the professional, college and high school levels, particularly among girl’s and women’s programs. Jacques and her colleagues often find themselves at distant state and national tournaments, a rarity just a decade ago. “I like to think that we’ve had a part in pushing sports in this region,” she said.
Her personal highlight reel includes, of course, Union’s 2014 national championship in hockey. “After watching the team struggle while I was a student and then having the opportunity to cover them through the championship year is something I’ll always remember,” she said. “I’ll never forget what it was like to step on the ice after that game to interview Coach Rick Bennett and Shayne Gostisbehere ’15.”