Success happens when preparation meets opportunity. This couldn’t be truer for Tiffany Greene, a 2003 FAMU alumna of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. The fourth-generation Rattler and magna cum laude graduate has proven the age-old saying that “slow and steady wins the race.” Greene is now widely regarded as the first African-American woman to serve as a play-by-play reporter for ESPN after spending 10 years in the journalism arena paying her dues.
Flashback to Greene’s childhood and one could observe her simulating football plays while clad in a full Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform that she was rightfully gifted for Christmas. Sports reporting is the perfect marriage of Greene’s gifts and her position at ESPN is the beginning of a beautiful union between the two. The former Queen of Orange and Green candidly opened up about what contributed to her success and how a professional convention changed the course of her career.
Join us in a Q&A as we follow Greene’s FAMU journey to success:
Q: You’ve made quite the name for yourself in sports reporting. What did you learn at FAMU that prepared you for your professional career?
A: I learned so much! Through student government, I learned office politics and how to conduct myself in a businesslike manner. My training in the J school was phenomenal because they put me in every position. It was hands-on so I was gaining that experience with broadcast, newspaper, announcing, reporting…. I was prepared in every facet. I felt loaded going into the workforce because of that. The professors were great and my classmates pushed me. Dean James Hawkins, Diane Hall, and Kenneth Jones are some professors that come to mind. Also, getting the opportunity to continue on the tradition of going to FAMU, I got to experience the same excellence with caring that my great grandmother, grandmothers, parents, aunts and uncles had previously. It grew me as a person and helped me understand the concept of community even greater—how to support one another.
Q: What was the defining moment of your career?
A: I’ll say this, what has catapulted me onto the national scene as a play-by-play announcer was a National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) conference two years ago. I was going around meeting with different people and met someone from FOX who watched my resume DVD and said “I like what you’re doing.” I reached out afterward and that led to me debuting on FOX Sports 1 network for the Big East women’s basketball conference. That show broadcast to 96 million households and gave me the stage to do what I was already doing but at the national level. That’s something more immediate. That helped me catch the eyes of those at ESPN.
I give credit to FAMU because that’s where credit is due! But I would be remiss not to say NABJ played a huge role. Learning about the industry and the (conference) experience manifested into the dream job I have now.
Q: You’re currently play-by-play announcing basketball games, most recently at a Florida State game. When you’re not announcing, what is your favorite sport?
A: That’s hard (laughing). My favorite sport to watch is football. I always wanted to play football because it’s just an awesome sport! I love the contact and it’s exciting to watch. My favorite sport to call is basketball because I used to play, although not in college. You know, I believe in teams. Teamwork helps in the workplace and sports are a lot like life. You have to be self-starting and enterprising and you have to learn how to lose, rebound and respond. All game-like situations are also life-like situations.
Q: And finally, what are some words you live by?
Colossians 3:23 says “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” That’s something I remind myself of on a consistent basis. Also, Robin Roberts (of “Good Morning America”), who has mentored me, always says “Dream big, focus small.”