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Doris Burke Told Holly Rowe To Take Jazz Analyst Job

This fall, Holly Rowe added another job to her great broadcast resume when she became an analyst on the Utah Jazz TV broadcasts with Craig Bolerjack and Thurl Bailey. Her journey to getting this role started before COVID at a play in New York City. 

On the latest episode of The Sports Media with Richard Deitsch Podcast, Rowe talked about the story that led her to getting the Jazz position and her initial assumptions about the offer. 

“I was at a play with my son before COVID hit and these two men walked up to me and said, Are you Holly Rowe? It turned out to be part of the ownership group for the Utah Jazz now. At that time, they were executives at Qualtrics, Mike Maughan and Ryan Smith. They wanted me to come out and do an interview with Adam Silver at their big convention in Salt Lake City. I did that 3 years ago and I got to meet Oprah.

“We kind of started a relationship. I knew them then and they ended up buying the Jazz with an investment group a little bit later. This summer, somebody from the Jazz emailed me and said, hey, we’d love to talk to you about becoming a part of our organization. It was Bart Sharp, their chief officer of marketing, so I kind of thought it was a marketing role. I live in Utah, I’m frequently talking about the Jazz, so I kind of thought it was along those lines.” 

Rowe told Deitsch that she was shocked that she was considered for an analyst role because it wasn’t something she was actively pursuing. In the end, she sought guidance from friend and ESPN colleague Doris Burke.

“I told her what the opportunity was and the first thing she said was you can do it. That’s all I needed to hear. If Doris Burke had any pause at all, I would not have done it because her opinion means everything to me. She knows my knowledge of basketball. That’s all it took for me.” 

With Rowe in this new role, she hopes that the industry will go to more of positionless broadcasting in the future and not focus on who has a specific title.

“We get so caught up in who is doing the play-by-play, who is the sideline reporter. We get caught up in these titles. I said ‘I’d love it to be positionless broadcasting. I kind of think that’s what we’re in’…We are all working together. We are just talking basketball and I think that’s cool. Positionless basketball is a cool thing right now, so we are kind of on that trend.” 

Since the Jazz told her that they wanted more storytelling on their broadcasts, it’s tough to say that they didn’t find a great fit by adding Rowe, who does a good job telling stories of athletes on college football, college basketball, women’s softball, and WNBA broadcasts. 

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