Clifton nabs job reporting on Cleveland CavaliersWritten by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Toledo women’s basketball standout Allie Clifton is returning to a court she knows well after being hired Aug. 27 by Fox Sports Ohio as the Cleveland Cavaliers sideline reporter.
“I’m excited to take the next step in my career,” she said. “It’s one I’m ready for. I’m kind of humbled by the whole experience so far and am very grateful for the opportunity.”
Clifton, a native of Van Wert, Ohio, won’t need any tours of the facilities after playing in four Mid-American Conference Tournaments at Quicken Loans Arena with the Rockets.
“When this job landed in my lap, it’s almost like going home,” she said. “It feels like a home atmosphere. I played on the court. I was a fan of the Cavs growing up.”
“Anything she does, she is very passionate about and works so hard when she has a goal,” UT head coach Tricia Cullop said. “It’s fun for me to sit back and see her achieve something I know is a career goal for her. That was to get back into sports and do it at such a high level. To also still be in Ohio covering a team she’s grown up watching? What a dream.”
As much as the position feels like home, Clifton is equally excited for the travel opportunities.
“It’s crazy to think, because as a player I’ve been to California, New York City, Miami and Hawaii,” she said. “This takes it to another level though. Just to be doing it outside the lines is very exciting. As a player you are thinking about scouting reports and taking care of everything else. It will be a different aspect. I’m very excited to travel to different cities and do it alongside of a team.”
Clifton is joining the broadcasting team of Fred McLeod and Austin Carr.
“I think it’s awesome to be able to learn and grow under such prestigious and experienced broadcasters,” she said. “I’ve done my research on them. They are the kind of people I want to learn from. I reached out to them and sent an email telling them how excited I was to join their team. They’ve been very welcoming.”
Cullop said she is excited to see how Clifton continues to progress in the new position.
“It’s outstanding news, because she has worked so hard to refine her skills in her craft,” Cullop said. “We have such a luxury in this market of having BCSN where she had an opportunity to really practice her craft and continue to get better.”
Clifton’s former co-captain, Courtney Ingersoll, now a graduate assistant with the Rockets, has also been impressed by her improvement since changing majors as a junior.
“Being a huge Cleveland person, I was so pumped,” Ingersoll said. “I sat down with her a couple times and talked to her about what she wanted to do. I was there when she decided to move to communication. She was like, ‘I see these people on TV. I want to do that. I can stay around sports.’ It’s kind of cool to be there to see that transition, and now she’s on her way to be the next Erin Andrews. I’m so excited for her.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sports analysis and communications, Clifton earned her master’s in communications while working at BCSN and serving as a graduate assistant in the weight room.
“It was challenging, I’m not going to lie,” she said. “My days would sometimes start sometimes at 5 a.m. and wouldn’t end until after a BCSN game at 10 p.m. It was tough. Those times are becoming clearer to me as to why I had to do them. I wouldn’t change anything in the world. Sometimes I slap myself for complaining. It was definitely worth it.”
Following graduation she worked as a sideline reporter for the Toledo Mud Hens, a position she has been granted permission to continue working in the off-season. As much as she enjoys working for the Mud Hens, Clifton is anxious for the opportunity to work as a sideline reporter for the sport she knows best.
“I thank the game every day for things I do now,” Clifton said. “From a communications, reliability and trusting standpoint, the game has shaped me and made me the person I am. It’s been a part of my life since I was 6 years old, and I don’t see it leaving.”