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2013 Year in Review. October. Noonan lights up the UConn room

POSTED December 27, 2013
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

UConn sideline reporter Emily Noonan works hard at her craft and it shows in the details. Her work doesn't begin and end on the field as the UConn graduate prepares with purpose and dedication, much like the teams she covers.

                                     Noonan lights up the UConn room


            STORRS - Nobody fills up a room like Emily Noonan. It doesn’t matter whether it is the living room, Gampel Pavilion, the XL Center or the 40,000-seat Rentschler Field, the lively, energetic presence of Noonan is inescapable.  

            You may not know the name, but you have to know the face if you take in any sport UConn . Noonan is the striking and nattily attired personality that fills up the jumbotron at The Rent and all over UConn venues during timeouts interviewing folks like Warde Manual, Geno Aueriemma and Kevin Ollie, giving away prizes and occupying your attention for consistent short periods of time.

            During basketball season Noonan’s fame may give way to the nationally recognized players that dribble the ball, but during the football season it might not be a stretch to say that she probably as well known as any player. She certainly gets more air time.

            And she is a natural, lighting up the camera with an ease and a big smile. Although, it may not always be as easy as it appears.

            “Honestly, in the beginning it was nerve-wracking,” admitted Noonan. “Before the first game of ever season I have to shake off the dust. But in my mind I’m just looking at the camera (not the thousands watching.).”

            As for the celebrity aspect of her status these days, is not something Noonan gets lost in, but she is aware of it.

            “At first I was just flattered that people were watching,” said Noonan. “There is a negative side when people start yelling stuff, but got to the point where I just laugh it off. If I’m still wearing the same outfit I wore during the game people will come up to me. I think my parents are the most excited.”

            Noonan should never be mistaken, however, for a bevy of 30-second sound bites.  She doesn’t just light up the screen and go home and game-time is just a small fraction of a burgeoning media career for the 2009 Connecticut graduate, Westover School alumni and Middlebury resident.

            Noonan is just starting her fifth year as Assistant Director of Video Services an on-air personality for Huskies All Access. Besides her coverage of live events for she hosts weekly UConn coach’s shows for football and basketball and creates video packages for all the Huskies sports teams for the UConn Athletics website.

            She is responsible for the content on the web site, the game wrap-ups and feature stories. The football show, `Blitz’, is shot Tuesday with the coach and a player(s) and Wed. and the next two to three days are spent editing. There are graphics to be added and finally it all is posted. Noonan is also responsible for the web casts of games not on TV. She writes all her own questions and does all her own interviews.

              Life off of the screen is plenty busy and rewarding.

            “I work a normal 9-5 day but sports is never 9 to 5,” laughed Noonan.   

            Noonan does get a breather. She finishes up baseball duties for the Huskies somewhere around the middle of June and late June and July are when the vacations are taken.

            “We make up for all those 8 p.m. nights,” said Noonan.

            Noonan loves the live game feel and being on the field or court, but it is just a small part of the enjoyment of her job. She likes to edit her own stuff admitting she likes to control what the final product looks like but not to the extent of being a control freak.

            And she confesses she loves letting the people know about her Huskies.

            “Reporting on the teams I care about is a lot adrenalin and excitement,” said Noonan. “The fast-paced excitement makes all of the long hours worth it.”

            Noonan also knows her role when controversy arises. As an employee of UConn you will not see her ripping the Huskies. Not that the subjects have to be avoided.

            “I work for UConn and my job is to promote,” said Noonan. “I have to ask the tough questions but I need to have a positive spin. I like that but there is the journalistic side about not asking biting questions.”

            You can see Noonan being a major personality at a bigger venue in the future. She can see it. But, the 26-year old can also see UConn in her future. She likes the promise of the future and is content with the challenges and enjoyment of the present.

            “I love to continue to grow and doing things and as long as I am doing new stuff and improving my skills I’m happy,” said Noonan. “I am a UConn graduate I think this is right up my alley. It’s more than just jumbotron and internet. I’m growing here. But, I would love to do a sports show.”

            Noonan is also hardly naïve to where sex appeal fits into all of this. She knows it is a selling point but like most serous craftsmen she bristles for those who can’t get beyond that.

            “The reputation of sideline reporters is that they are often a pretty face that can speak well,” said Noonan. “People that know me know that I’m smart. When people say that looks are No. 1 and sports No. 2 I get very mad. I’m a debater by heart. Not everyone could do this. Most who recognize me, compliment me. But, it is always hard. Sports in general is a man’s world.”

            No stepping stone here by design. Learning experience? Yes. But, with here college and residence roots here and the continuing evolvement of the job to her liking, Emily Noonan could be here for a while.

            Whether it’s editing or asking Andre Drummond about a host of dunks during a game and getting a, “That’s what I do,” response, Noonan is in a good place.

            She fills up the room and likes the room.

            And the room likes her.

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