JESSAMYN McINTYRE, the new radio sideline reporter for Washington State football, saw quickly on Monday how much Cougar fans love their team. Her Twitter account was bombarded with crimson well wishers after her new role was announced. It was humbling, but not surprising. “What I’ve come to learn is if you’re a Cougar, you’re a Cougar,” McIntyre told CF.C. “Everyone is die hard and I love that.”
For the Long Island native who grew up cheering on the Jets and Mets, the road to Martin Stadium was anything but conventional.
Two years ago, when she arrived at KIRO Radio in Seattle after four years at ESPN in Bristol, Conn., the Apple Cup was so vague in her mind that she didn't much care who won.
Now she's going to be right in the middle of it.
“This is what I’ve always wanted to do. It's kind of crazy it's happening,” an excited McIntyre said only hours after the official announcement that she would be joining the Cougar broadcast team.
She'll replace Bud Nameck, who is moving upstairs with Bob Robertson and new color commentator Shawn McWashington.
McIntyre's regular job is at KIRO, the Cougs' new Puget Sound flagship station, where she is the executive producer of the Kevin Calabro Show.
The Calabro Show is co-hosted by die-hard Coug Jim Moore.
“He tried his best,” McIntyre said when asked if Moore tried to color her crimson upon arriving in Seattle. "For a while ... I rooted for both and hoped for a good Apple Cup."
That changed a year ago when Bonneville Media Group, which owns KIRO, signed a three-year deal for Cougar football and basketball games and broadcast them via 770 KTTH. KTTH will now become the backup for Cougar games when conflicts with the Mariners arise on KIRO.
McINTYRE GRADUATEDfrom Springfield College in Massachusetts, where she played volleyball and majored in journalism.
Nine months after her 2004 graduation the opportunity of a lifetime came forward. She was hired as a production assistant at ESPN.
She was in Bristol for four years, where she worked on virtually every radio show ESPN had to offer, from Dan Patrick to The Hurd, Mike and Mike to the Scott Van Pelt Show. The hours were long and the demands many, she said.
And she loved it.
“Some people bartended their way through college. I bartended my way through ESPN,” McIntyre quipped. “In this business, if you’re not all for it, you’ll get weeded out.”
McIntyre's professional life has been behind the scenes, making her work this fall for the Cougs her first as an on-air reporter.
While with ESPN in Bristol, McIntyre said she had the chance to produce College Gameday, and worked alongside Joe Schad. The experience was invaluable because she said she was able to see how a game needs to unfold from the production standpoint. That will help her understand what will be expected from her in Pullman come Saturdays in the fall. The excitement however, is something she can’t hide.
“I mean, it’s awesome,” McIntyre said. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do but I get to start at Washington State, not a small school. It’s Pac-12, it’s Mike Leach, and it’s the Cougars. It’s unbelievable to me.”
She noted that Leach will be making a weekly appearance on the Calabro Show in the fall.
She hasn’t made a visit to Pullman yet, but is planning to get there soon.
“I’m going there this summer so I can at least see it,” McIntyre said. “I hear awesome things from Jim all the time. I hear it’s got that one-of-a-kind charm that you have to experience. You can describe it all you want but don’t get the full effect until you’re there. I’m excited.”
So what can Cougar fans expect from her?
“I am a high-energy person and I give it to you straight which seems like what Cougs embody,” McIntyre said. “I want to thank everyone for welcoming me to the Cougar family. When it comes to being a fan, I’m a crazy fan, and I will be absolutely completely biased when it comes to the Cougs!”