Born and raised in San Francisco, Fox Sports personality Molly McGrath was a cheerleader at Boston College, where she produced and hosted her own sports web show. After graduating in 2011, she became a sideline reporter for the Celtics, and she joined Fox Sports in 2013, covering the NFL. In March, she was chosen to co-host America’s Pregame, and she is the lead sideline reporter for the current college football season. She lives in Santa Monica, California.
Molly Anne McGrath. Does it get any more Irish girl next door than that? I don’t think so, but a lot of people would be shocked to learn that I’m half-Mexican/Spanish. I’m like that [bygone] bar in downtown Boston, Jose McIntyre’s.
It seems like you always had a laser-like focus on becoming a sportscaster. Since what age, and why? Since I was a little girl, watching Giants games with my dad. I knew I wanted to work in sports and to be in television, but I didn’t have the laser-like focus until I was in college. At BC, I got internships and saw the passion of the Boston fan base. I thought, “This drives people absolutely crazy, and it scares me a little bit—but if it gets people this worked up, it’s something I have to do.”
Do you ever get sick of talking about sports? No, especially because I have AL and NL teams, AFC and NFC teams. I’m a Giants fan and a Red Sox fan, a 49ers fan and a Patriots fan. So I have a lot of teams to root for and games to watch.
So it’s all sports, all the time? No. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than coming home and watching HGTV. That’s my guilty pleasure, watching the fixer-upper, house-hunter-type shows. It gives my mind a bit of a break.
I do. I really miss it, and I’m so pumped that the season is back. But Fox doesn’t have rights to any NBA games. Maybe I’ll get to do college basketball once we get into it.
Should Gillette Stadium be closer to Boston? [Laughs] I think Bostonians think so. The people of Foxborough probably wouldn’t be thrilled. But yeah, it’s a pain getting out there. There’s nothing like that cold wind hitting your face, though, and not being able to feel your entire body just screams Patriots game.
I would say no, especially since I work in college football now and it would be creepy to say that. But watching those athletes is definitely inspiring.
Would you ever date a pro athlete? Ahhh…no comment.
Sport you play best? You know the saying “Those who can’t do, teach”? Those who can’t play, report. I’m not athletic. I was a cheerleader, and I was a competitive swimmer, so I do have a competitive drive, but I’m just not that coordinated. I played basketball for six years, and I sucked. I enjoy watching other people do what I can’t.
Isn’t cheerleading a sport? Competitive cheerleading, with gymnastics and stunting, is a sport. But if you’re talking about pom squad, that’s dancing.
When you were a cheerleader, did people assume you were a ditz? Probably. I’m sure people judged me for that, the same way people judge me for being a blond reporter for Fox Sports, because apparently we’re a dime a dozen. But the more people are able to hear me and listen to what I have to say, it’s easier to prove those preconceptions wrong.
So what do you think you get stereotyped about the most in your career? It’s tough being a woman in sports. You may not always be taken seriously. You have to work twice as hard, and your margin for error is twice as small.
No. But there have been coaches that I’ve crossed at times and other people in the industry. Fox is really good at giving me a voice, though. They know what I’m passionate about, and they let me speak about it. Not a lot of women in sports really have a voice. I’m really fortunate that Fox gives that to me.
How do you project authority when someone’s speaking down to you? You just smile and ask kickass questions and show that you know what you’re talking about. You do your homework. Respect is something that has to be earned.
[Laughs] Not so much anymore. I’m 25 now!
One of the reasons I got into this business was that I saw how crazy Boston fans are. There’s nothing like going to a Pats game and have complete strangers run up to you and high-five you when they score. I would have to say that Boston fans are probably the wildest that I’ve come across.
When it comes to football—college or pro? Oh, that’s tough. I would have to say college. I love watching the NFL, and I loved working in it. But I love working in college football, because the fan base is really invested. They’re really nuts. They’re all there on Saturday to watch their classmates play or cheer for their alma mater. I also love covering college football because I can lie in bed all day Sunday and watch the NFL.
So you don’t want to cover it anymore? It’s not that. I covered the NFL last season. I’d just say covering college football is a little more exciting. These kids are fighting for a career. They’re not getting paid. They’re doing it for school pride and because their family and friends are watching. I’ve done so many interviews after games. With the NFL, I never saw tears, and I’ve probably seen tears three times already this season.
Biggest extravagance? Room service. On the road, my favorite thing is to get to my room, put on a robe and order room service. I’ll spend all my money on that.
You’re petite, and when you were covering the NBA, there were times when you were holding the microphone so far over your head it looked exhausting. I had to wear really tall shoes. I sometimes had to stand on a box. And I always got sweated on, because the players would have to lean down to try to hear what I was saying. All the sweat on their face would drip onto me, which was a little disconcerting, but kinda funny. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with it anymore though.
Tell the truth: Were you a little miffed when Kevin Garnett grabbed your microphone and yelled, “Beantown!”? No, I loved it. I love him. He’s one of my favorite athletes, and he only does in-arena interviews maybe once a year, so I was just thrilled he did it. Moments like that are priceless, and fans, especially in Boston, love that stuff.
What about dealing with locker rooms? I don’t go in locker rooms anymore, but in Boston, I had to every day, and I’ve gotta tell you something. NBA players are loud superstars, and people think of them as really showboaty. They’re very modest in the locker room. Very shy. They’d shimmy their shorts up with a towel around them. I never had any awkward weirdness. They were always very polite.
I left all my friends and family, so yes. I don’t get to go back as much as I’d like.
Which is a better sports town: Boston or New York? I would obviously choose Boston. New York fans can be a little abrasive. Boston fans are just drunk and happy.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years? I would be blessed to be doing exactly what I’m doing now. But eventually, it would be nice to be an NFL sideline reporter, or someday to host my own show. That would be pretty cool.