If you are a Big Ten conference fan (like me) then you know who Taylor Rooks is! I am an Ohio State University fan so knowing who Taylor Rooks is goes beyond what she does on television. Taylor’s father is Thomas Rooks the former Running back for University of Illinois who scored a game-winning touchdown against Ohio State with 66 seconds left in the game back in 1983. I was born a year later, but my father showed me this game when I was five years old and I still remember that play like it was yesterday. Thomas Rooks also helped lead the Illini to three bowl games in four seasons, including the 1983 Big Ten Championship and 1984 Rose Bowl appearance.
Taylor Rooks, who is 24 years old, is paving her own way while not forgetting what her father instilled in her. “My dad was a person that always said that I could do whatever I wanted to do. He instilled in me how to work hard and he even shared his failures so that I would be ready for that too. My love for the Big Ten, football, University of Illinois and sports comes from him.”
Taylor Rooks graduated from the University of Illinois, where both of her parents attended college, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Taylor shared that growing up around people who were the best at what they did helps her stay focused on her personal and professional growth in this industry. She acknowledges what her uncle Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock has done for black players in baseball and how growing up around his & her father’s legacies have shown her what it would be like in this industry before she began working in it. She’s gained her own respect in this industry and her knowledge for sports has proven that she can do the job.
“Who you know will get you there and what you know will keep you there,” is something that was said while Taylor was in college and she says that she will never forget it. She knew that she had to do something else that would separate her from everyone else that wanted to be a sports journalist. She started blogging her freshman year and then Fox Sports contacted her about working her junior and senior year for them. Taylor was a determined to get better at storytelling and interviewing during her freshman and sophomore years, so she knew this was the best way for her to gain more experience. “You’re in college to work towards your job,” shares Taylor and she has the resume to back this up.
One of the main things she says she works on now as a journalist and sideline reporter is listening to the answer before asking the next question. She doesn’t want to miss an amazing follow up because she is so focused on what she is prepared to ask next. She remembers when UNLV’s basketball team got their new coach and how emotional he was in the post game interview. She really worked to maximize the emotion he felt and how to share that with fans who were watching.
“Don’t try to play the role of the reporter. You just have to be one. Be yourself,” encourages Taylor. She has grown since her freshman year and has become more comfortable with herself in front of the camera. This growth is reflected in how she interviews players & coaches and how her personality glows while on screen. She said that making mistakes while she was younger has helped her not make those same mistakes moving forward in her career.
I asked Taylor her favorite things about the Big Ten and what type of workout she does, because she looks amazing!
Favorite College Football towns in Big Ten: Her heart will always love University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but she likes Madison & Columbus too!
Favorite Stadiums: Wisconsin’s Memorial Stadium & Ohio State’s Ohio Stadium
Favorite Restaurant in Big Ten: Sushi restaurant in Madison, WI (she loves sushi)
Favorite Workout: Squats & Toning with Cardio twice a week!
Last Friday, Taylor announced that she accepted two new positions with SportsNet New York as an Anchor/Reporter and CBS Sports Network Sideline Reporter. The opportunities that Taylor has received were not given to her. She’s work for everything and does not feel entitled based on who her father is or what type of legacy she comes from. We look forward to watching her over at SportsNet New York and CBS Sports Network this football season.
Good luck Taylor from Team Fans Favorite Fan! You are definitely a fan’s favorite!