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Women's tennis, cross country alum hits the grand stage

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Megan Broderick was a standout in tennis and later cross country before graduating from UK in 2012. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Megan Broderick was a standout in tennis and later cross country before graduating from UK in 2012. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Former UK tennis and cross country standout Megan Broderick is taking her professional career to the next level. Just a year after graduating from Kentucky, Broderick has found a home coaching at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City, while also working part-time for ESPN's production department at the Grand Slams.

Tennis may be Broderick's focus now, but that wasn't always the case for the multi-sport athlete.

Broderick's natural athletic ability allowed her to try her hand at almost every sport imaginable growing up, including basketball, gymnastics, soccer and, of course, tennis. However, playing competitive soccer and tennis at the same time is no easy feat, so at age 12 her parents told her to make a choice. Giving up soccer was tough, but Broderick committed to tennis and started traveling the country playing in tournaments.

Coming to Kentucky

The Wisconsin native moved to Tampa, Florida, when she was 15 years old and continued to pursue her tennis career. She started drawing attention from elite college coaches around the country, but wasn't satisfied with her early recruiting visits.

"I took my first four, and nothing really felt like it fit," said Broderick. "I came home and my dad mentioned that the UK coach was very interested in me. I was hesitant at first because I didn't know much about Kentucky, and I thought it was just out in the middle of nowhere. But I took a trip and I fit in really well with the team. Lexington was a good fit for me."

Aside from excelling in tennis and later cross country, Broderick gained more than just athletic accolades while she was at UK. Her five years as a student-athlete are a big reason why she has already had such a successful career after college.

"Just playing sports for a college teaches you a lot of discipline, and you have to interact with a lot of people throughout the day," said Broderick. "It really teaches you how to communicate with people and how to deal with diversity. Also, you're meeting people from around the world. It's been through those connections that I've been able to do other things and reach other opportunities."

Broderick's relationships with her college teammates helped broaden her outlook and build connections with people around the world, which has no doubt helped her in her professional career.

Megan Broderick works as a coach at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City. (Photo via Megan Broderick) Megan Broderick works as a coach at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City. (Photo via Megan Broderick)
Life after graduation

Anyone who knows Broderick will tell you that she is a fierce competitor, so it's no surprise that after she graduated in 2012, she hit the ground running.  She began working for John McEnroe Tennis Academy - known commonly as Sportime - in New York City as a coach for young kids hoping to follow in her footsteps.

After a year of coaching, she also became good friends with John McEnroe's younger brother, Patrick, who has helped her pursue her career in broadcast journalism.  

"Through him I got connected to the production manager at ESPN, and they had some spots as 'runners' for Wimbledon," said Broderick. "So I took the job and went to Wimbledon for three weeks doing a lot of small work."

Broderick may have spent many mornings doing "run-downs" or getting coffee for the staff, but she also gained a lot of valuable experience in the world of television.

"It really opened my eyes to what goes on behind the scenes and see if this is something that I want to pursue," said Broderick. "I met the commentators and was able to have conversations with a lot of people at ESPN. It connected me to more people and pushed me in the direction I want to take my career."

Broderick returned from London and was relocated to one of Sportime's locations in the Hamptons, where she is back coaching. However, she plans on taking another part-time job with ESPN at the U.S. Open in New York City at the end of August.

What comes next?

Megan Broderick worked behind the scenes for ESPN at Wimbledon this summer. (Photo via Megan Broderick) Megan Broderick worked behind the scenes for ESPN at Wimbledon this summer. (Photo via Megan Broderick)
Once again, Broderick is approaching a crossroads in her career. She may not have to choose between coaching or broadcast just yet, but she is definitely looking toward the future.

"I think that coaching is amazing, and it's something that I have a lot of passion for," said Broderick. "At the same time I do see myself pursuing a broadcast career. I think that going to Wimbledon and working for ESPN reaffirmed that. "

Meanwhile, she is using her experience at Wimbledon to help take her coaching career to the next level.

"I'd never had time to see a grand slam from start to finish," said Broderick. "It helped me as a coach because I could watch matches live and see and hear different things than I would on TV. It gives you an insight to what the players are dealing with and what really goes on day-to-day at the tournament."

She also got to see how much work goes into putting together a grand slam and gained an even greater appreciation for the production staff, whom she referred to as the "real superstars."

"You have people who are producing the match live and people trying to get certain angles and see expressions during all the matches," said Broderick. "It kind of added a little bit to the whole experience."

A word of advice

Not every student-athlete gets a chance to pursue his or her passion beyond college, but Broderick has always kept her dreams in sight.

On one tennis trip while she was at UK, the entire team decided to purchase lottery tickets at a gas station on the side of the road. After purchasing the tickets, Broderick and her teammates discussed what they would do if they won the lottery, which forced her to think about what she wanted to do with her life.

"You have to ask yourself, 'If I had the means to, what would I be doing right now?' " said Broderick. "I think you should always have that outlook. That nothing can stop you from reaching your goals if you really want them."

Broderick has used this theory with her tennis students as well.

"I ask some of them why they play tennis, and they always answer the same way I did, 'I don't know. I just love it,' " said Broderick. "I think that's how it starts. You realize it's a part of you, and it makes it easier to want to give back to the sport. It's really rewarding."

Although she isn't a permanent employee of ESPN just yet, Broderick is taking her own advice and pursuing her love of tennis to the fullest. Meanwhile, she is enjoying her coaching career and her new life in New York.  

"At this point in my life, it's somewhere I can see myself for a few years," said Broderick. "I think New York City has a lot of motivated and career-driven people. It inspires you everyday to go after your dreams and get things done."

Clearly, Broderick has taken that inspiration to heart.

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