Holly Rowe returns home as analyst for the Jazz
One of the best in the business will be joining the already stacked Utah Jazz broadcasting team.
Welcome to the team, Holly Rowe!
One of the most recognizable faces in all of college football and a legendary storyteller, Rowe will be exploring a new venture in her already amazing career as an analyst for the Jazz.
“This is personal and like coming home for me. … This is definitely a full circle moment for me,” Rowe said. “For over 20 years I’ve worked in one capacity or another at different times with the Jazz — pulling cables, stage manager, done jobs in the TV truck, every possible job for them, I’ve done it.”
After graduating from Woods Cross High School, Rowe went south and attended BYU where she served as a news anchor for the campus TV station, KBYU-TV. After taking a brief hiatus from college, she returned to university, only this time up north. She graduated in 1991 from the University of Utah with a degree in broadcast journalism, right before serving as an intern with CBS Sports that set her on her current life path.
“Utah is my home. … My family is here,” Rowe said. “When the Jazz reached out to me, when Bart (Sharp, Chief Marketing Officer) emailed me, he said this is random but asked if I would be interested in the role. I was shocked. I’ve covered basketball for 30 years and now I get to stay involved with a team I grew up with.”
Now back in Utah, being on the court at Vivint Arena will bring back poignant memories from Rowe’s childhood. When sports really began to take shape in her life, the Jazz organization was thriving in the John Stockton, Karl Malone and Jerry Sloan era.
She remembers going to Jazz games at the old Salt Palace. She remembers watching playoff games on TV. She even interned for KSL Radio during the 1992-93 all-star game, vividly recalling interviews with a young Shaquille O’Neal and some guy named Michael Jordan.
But despite her time watching games, being a young fan and interviewing some of the league’s greats, two things really stick out to her when she thinks about the Jazz.
The first story she always tells when asked about her Utah memories centers around Stockton and Malone’s uniquely competitive relationship.
According to Rowe, both players would be working out at their respective homes during the offseason, each refusing to take a day off in fear that the other person would outwork them. That drive they had to be the better than the guy next to them is something Rowe has adopted as she’s grown throughout her career.
Lastly, she remembers Sloan as one of the driving forces behind her success.
“Jerry was also so kind to me, that’s one thing I’ll never forget,” Rowe said. “He could come across as really gruff, a tough man, but he was always sweet to me. He was very inclusive of me, would take the time to sit and explain basketball to me when I was just starting out.”
For those who’ve grown accustomed to seeing Rowe on the football sidelines during Saturday’s, there’s no reason to fret. She still plans on honoring her contract with ESPN as part of ABC’s Saturday Night Football all the way through the College Football Playoff National Championship game in January 2022.
“I’m very grateful that ESPN is willing to let me work this opportunity, just work around their schedule,” Rowe said. “They gave me the okay and I’ve been able to fit it around my existing responsibilities.”
Rowe’s career trajectory has served as an inspiration for many young up-and-coming journalists, a role that she’s never taken lightly. She fully understands what it was like as a woman to make her mark in 1998 at ESPN — the flagship station for worldwide sports — and having now thrived on the biggest of stages.
“I don’t think you ever really think about it in terms of that, that sounds egotistical,” Rowe said. “When people tell it to you though, it’s very important to me because I hope I always do a good job of being a good person and showcasing my work at a high level. If that’s what inspires others, then it’s really important to me.”
Regardless of where Rowe’s career continues to take her, she plans on truly embracing this new opportunity — especially since it hits so close to her heart.
“This is definitely a full circle moment for her,” said Craig Bolerjack, voice of the Jazz. “We worked together during the late-80s to mid-90s doing stuff with BYU, and you could tell even then that she was a focused young reporter who was very good at her craft.”
Utah is her home.
It’s where she grew up and where she dreamed about having a voice in the sports world. It’s also where she not only discovered that voice but where she’s perfected it. So now being given the opportunity to come full circle throughout all of her trials and tribulations is an opportunity she will embrace every step of the way.
“My first ever game on ESPN was with Craig (Bolerjack), so it’s really amazing to have this opportunity again,” Rowe said. “I’m excited to be a part of the team. … To be working with Craig and Thurl (Bailey, analyst for the Jazz), I can’t wait to get started with them.”
“She’s been able to plow her way through the diversity in this business of ours, and that says everything you need to know about her,” Bolerjack added. “The Jazz happened to have this opportunity and she’s earned her way to it. … She’s earned her way back home. She’s going to be a very strong asset in everything we do, and I can’t wait to start working her again.”