Q&A With Sideline Reporter Molly Sullivan
This edition of Thunder Chat brings us to The Mountain Sports Network (or simply The Mtn. Molly can be found on most Saturdays in the fall on the sidelines during Mountain West football games giving the report to the guys in the booth as well as us at home. She can also be spotted court side at many MWC basketball games as well. When she actually gets a break from games, Molly has done some very interesting pieces ranging anywhere from NFL prospects to the more tragic Lindsey Bennett Memorial*.
Molly is a native of Las Vegas and she gets bonus points for graduating from the University of North Carolina. Molly attended UNC on a scholarship for swimming. While there, she was a nationally ranked swimmer and brought home the 1999 ACC championship in the 1650-yard freestyle. In addition, she was also a qualifier for the 2000 Olympic Trials in the 800-meter freestyle. Some may also recognize Molly from the 2007 E! reality show Paradise Citythat followed a group of Las Vegas twenty-something’s during the pursuit of their dreams. In 2008 she was voted as one of the “30 Sexiest Sportscasters” by Playboy as well as one of the “20 Most Beautiful People in Vegas”. So, for those of you keeping score at home, we have a TV personality, a published author, a fantastic athlete, a huge sports fan and drop dead gorgeous looks all rolled into one…I know what you’re thinking, “Are you kidding me!?!”.
No, we’re not…
A lot of kids play the “when I grow up” game. When you were younger is this the career path that you envisioned?
I was a competitive swimmer for 14 years and have been involved with athletics as far back as I can remember. Rather than cheering from the sidelines, I was always in the game playing with the boys. I’m just a girl who loves sports.
What, in your opinion, has been your greatest accomplishment thus far?
Earning a full-ride athletic scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was pretty cool. My final four were UNC, Florida, Arizona and UCLA.
Being an Alum of North Carolina and one bad ass swimmer, what are some of the best memories you have from your college experience?
You haven’t celebrated a ‘W’ until it’s been celebrated on Franklin Street. Quite frankly, it’s a great place to celebrate even without a win. The entire student-athlete experience at Carolina was memorable because each sport supported the other. And of course it was a bonus to have the Dean Dome connected to the swimming facility.
Who is one person or group, Thunder Treats withheld, you would love to sit down and have an in depth interview with?
My next one.
What is the best sports atmosphere you have been in?
Competing at the 2000 US Olympic Swimming Trials in Indianapolis, no doubt.
What’s the strangest or most awkward comment that any player or coach has ever said to you during an interview?
As the eyes and ears on the sidelines during a game, a lot of those comments are said when the cameras may not be rolling and it’s my job to filter that information back out to you. It’s also my job to ask the tough questions…to get the answers you, as sports fans, want to know. I have had a few interviews where it’s clear that the person on the other side of the mic would prefer not to talk. At times, that can create challenging moments but it’s all part of the game…I have yet to be outrun.
Who was your favorite personality you ever interviewed?
Each interview has the potential to be my favorite. True story. But I will say this…in Vegas, as you know, sports and entertainment go hand-in-hand. In 2007, I went all-in with sports broadcasting but prior to that I covered entertainment news for three years. It’s not my favorite interview but is certainly one with a little significance…my first assignment for E! News was an exclusive sit-down with John Legend, who happens to be a big Ohio State fan. We spent the majority of the interview talking about sports rather than his new album, what kind of sneakers he was wearing or who he was dating. I’m very thankful for those ‘John Legend’ type of moments because it led me back to my athletic roots and where I am today. Now, I’m here to stay.
How does it feel to be compared to ESPN’s Erin Andrews on a consistent basis?
If I am indeed compared to Erin…what an honor…at least for me.
Have you had any experiences with stalkers or fans who overstep their boundaries? If not, can Thunder Treats be your first?
We have the best fans. I have been very lucky…knock on wood.
In addition to your reporting and athleticism, you are a published author. You wrote Las Vegas Little Red Book: A Girl’s Guide to the Perfect Vegas Getaway. What do you think is the biggest stereotype us Las Vegas locals face?
I think one of the biggest stereotypes is that Las Vegas won’t support a major pro franchise. Bring it.
What is the best advice or tip you could give someone coming to Las Vegas for their first time?
Breaking down the X’s and O’s of Las Vegas…the most important thing to remember when planning a trip to our city is to simply do your research. Vegas can be overwhelming so it’s important to have your priorities in check before you pack your bags. Oh, and be prepared for overtime.
Rapid fire, go with first thing you think of:
One item you cannot live without? My BlackBerry.
Best sport to watch live? College Football.
Greatest athlete ever? Fellow Tar Heel, Michael Jordan.
A BIG thanks goes out to Molly Sullivan for doing this interview for us. We know how busy she has been and how hard she works and we are flattered she took the time to help us out.
*For those of you interested in learning more about Lindsay Bennett and her Memorial and how you can donate or pledge, please click here.