MaryLynn Williams has always had a passion for sports. When she transferred to UT Martin, she discovered the communications department and realized that she could turn her love for sports into a profession.
When Williams transferred to UT Martin, she planned to study health and human performance. However, when she learned about the communications department and the opportunities it presented in sports reporting, she decided to change her major.
On discovering her passion for sports reporting, Williams said, "In the spring of 2012, I took an intro to newswriting and an intro to broadcasting class and ended up really enjoying it. I'd always been good academically at writing, and I was always good at research. I was one of those weird kids who would actually stay up and watch the news with her parents. So, I was always fascinated with sports anchors and sideline reports. I always thought that would be a cool job." She continued, "I helped Sports Information with basketball games and volunteered to go to games and then write a piece on it for the Pacer. After that, Dr. Richard Robinson asked me to be news director [for W-UTM]."
Once Williams found her place in the department of communications, more opportunities began to arise. In addition to holding the position as news director in 2012 and sports director in 2013 for the UT Martin campus radio station, WUTM, Williams found additional extracurricular activities.
Williams knows how to network and after working for a radio station in Nashville, she made a connection that helped her earn another internship. This summer, Williams was an intern for the Tennessee Titans. During her time with the team, she was able to get a behind-the-scenes peek while putting together information for media kits. She also created a set of videos for the Titans' website called "Ten with a Titan" where she collected ten facts about individual rookie players and free agents. Williams' videos can be found at www.titansonline.com.
This year, Williams continues to pursue her aspirations as she maintains an internship with ESPNU, ESPN's source college sports news. Because UT Martin is a small division university, Williams has an opportunity to stand out as the UTM representative.
"I'm the only representative for UTM and the OVC, which is a little harder for me because at Alabama there are five people alone for their football program." Still, Williams takes advantage of her internship. "I send in a video every couple of weeks and they range [in length] from thirty seconds to two and a half minutes, and they're more human-interest pieces about the person behind the uniform." She also added, "I do stuff with social media, trying to get our name out there."
Williams is the perfect example of how making connections and remaining determined can help achieve her dream of becoming a sports reporter.