Femmefan Exclusive Interview
with Courtney George
By Valerie J. Wood
Courtney George's typical week is about as fast-paced
as the NASCAR racing she covers for SpeedChannel.
This dynamic young woman brings a fresh, sharp
intensity to sports-reporting and is a tremendously
talented, focused, savvy and dedicated professional.
Recently, she graciously slowed down long enough
to talk to FemmeFan in-depth about her accelerating
career as a sports-reporter and what it was
like growing up as the daughter of a professional
football player in the NFL and Canadian Football
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Courtney traveled
quite a bit as a youngster because of her father's
profession. She credits that with making her
so outgoing, since there was a lot of moving
between different States and Provinces in the
USA and Canada, meeting new people, and making
friends and learning at a variety of schools.
A graduate of the Ohio State University, Courtney
received her B.A. in Communication. Her accomplishments
already include becoming the second ever female
main sports anchor/sports director in Florida,
working as a regional college sideline reporter
for the Fox Network, working as a weekend sports
anchor/reporter in Albany, NY, and working as
an anchor/reporter in Macon, GA. She has also
been honored for excellence in broadcasting
by the International Executive Guild of NY.
Courtney now resides in Charlotte, NC, the heart
of NASCAR country. Single, she shares her home
with three Bengal cats and she loves animals
of all kinds.
The daughter of CFL Hall of Famer Ed George
(a 6'5" offensive lineman), Courtney is
also the grand-daughter of the CFL's legendary
Ralph Toohy. With a genetic heritage like, that,
Courtney's 6'1" height is really not that
surprising. She has found that NASCAR fans in
particular take note of her being tall-particularly
since the bulk of the current drivers are so,
well, short. However, the drivers certainly
take it in good stride when she interviews them,
and have even told her to "be proud and
stand up tall" when she is interviewing
them. On a recent feature for NASCAR Nation,
Courtney visited with driver David Stremme and
learned to drive go-carts. She had never done
so before and, prior to her 'driving lesson'
David insisted she stand beside the minimum
height measure "Over 60-Inches Tall"
sign on the air. Her current assignments are
more in line with entertainment instead of hard-core
sportscasting, but she has found the work to
be a lot of fun and it allows her to get to
know the drivers and crews on a more personal
basis-seeing them as individuals and not just
Courtney graciously answered some questions
for Femmefan, and discussed her career, plans
for the future, and what it's like to be a sports
reporter in racing.
What do you think is the hardest obstacle
facing a woman who wants a career in sports
reporting? What advice would you give a young
woman who wants to pursue a career in sports
The hardest thing for me will be and has always
been my height. I am 6'1 and I have played volleyball
and basketball all my life. I work out and lift
weights daily. Not being a "stick thin"
reporter, my size is a bit of an issue and probably
always will be. Since I'm not the reporter you
can hire as eye candy, I have to be able to
backup my statements and I have to know what
I am talking about because I am not the stereotypical
sideline/pit reporter girl.
I hope I can help the younger generation see
that you can be healthy and athletic and not
anorexic and still be a success on TV - and
you can be over 6 feet tall.
When I was working in football, my height was
not as obvious. The men on average are much
larger in the NFL. NASCAR drivers tend to be
shorter than 6 feet and so my height has been
a topic of conversation for fans. Thankfully,
the drivers have been great about it, joking
and teasing me but always supporting me at the
same time. In that regard, it is more of an
issue for fans watching at home when I suddenly
appear larger than life towering over a interview
subject who just happens to be 5 or 6 inches
shorter than I am.
We talked about growing up in a pro sports
family and role models. Courtney reflected on
her early childhood and her family.
My mother died when I was just 21. She was my
best friend and my support. It's something I
never completely got over. I'm not sure anyone
ever does. Working helps keep me focused and
busy. After her loss, I threw myself into internships
and college, and then job after job... My career
is now my rock. My father is an amazing man
who has helped me in more ways then I can count.
He is very supportive of my job choices but
is not a "daddy" type person. He was
the law and the order. He taught me how to compete,
how to be tough and aggressive and how to you
ultimately make the bed you sleep in - how everyone
needs to clean up there own messes, fight their
own battles and nothing is worth having, if
you did not work very hard to get it. Being
an only child, it was just me and my dad after
my mom died and that has always been tough,
wishing she could see what I am doing and knowing
she's not there for some things has made them
harder. My father is independent and reliant
on self-strength, sort of a tough love kind
of father. I know he is there for me, and if
I really need him, he will be in my corner.
My dad has remarried to a wonderful woman and
they are enjoying retirement.
Who has influenced you the most, as a role
My mother and Suzy Kolbert. Both were strong
independent women. Suzy and Hanna Storm were
the first females that, in my eyes, were normal
not tiny and perfect. Real women and not 'models.'
They are beautiful, intelligent, and smart women.
They could hold there own in the male dominated
world in which they lived and worked. I have
always wanted to be perceived in the way that
I looked up to them when I was growing up.
When did you decide you wanted to make sports
and reporting your career?
As soon as I knew what a 'career' was, I wanted
to either play or cover sports. I've never wavered
and never had a second choice for a job. For
me, it was all or nothing. Kind of like in my
family - if you did not play pro, well you covered
it. The two generations before me were boys,
and both played pro ball. So, when it came to
me, it was only natural to cover sports. I always
felt more at home on a football field then in
a living room, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Have you felt you've had to overcome hurdles
in getting ahead in reporting because sports
Not in regard to football, because of my family
and the men I grew up around. Many now work
at ESPN or coach in the NFL. In that regard,
I had almost a kind of inherited respect, or
maybe I should say an "expected knowledge
base." Now that I am covering NASCAR, it
has been a bit different. In some ways it has
been tough because the fans are knowledgeable
and not as accepting to newcomers. They expect
you to earn your yellow rookie stripe. I am
trying my best to do so, but it has certainly
been a different reception. It has been a good
"wakeup call." I knew it would be
tough and that the fans might be harder on an
outsider without a strong NASCAR base, coming
in at a national show level, so I tudy every
week and work extra hard to try and do my best.
I will say I did not study this hard even in
college! But it is all worth it. I love the
sport and the people involved. I respect the
fans for demanding so much from their sportscasters!
Who has been instrumental in helping you
with your career, by giving you a break or good
I was very honored to have worked with Jerry
Glanville and Bob Picozzi when I was a college
football TV sideline reporter. Those two men
taught me more than I can ever thank them for.
They are total class acts and left unforgettable
impressions on me. In particular, Bob was the
most honest and down to earth men I had ever
worked with. He bent over backwards to help
the new kid (me) out, lending an ear when I
needed it and telling me things I needed to
know. I will always be grateful for the time
I got to work with both of these men.
And, Rick Miner gave me my first chance on SpeedChannel.
I think he saw something in me and took the
chance. He was the man who gave me my first
national opportunity and who always let me know
where I stood - and still stand - to this day.
He is another diamond in the rough, as they
say. Men like these are rare in the media field.
They are totally honest and sincere and have
timeless class. I can never thank these three
men for helping me get to where I am, and I
am still just beginning my climb.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
I would love to still be working with SPEED
doing NASCAR coverage, and I would also like
to venture back onto sidelines and return to
College football or even the NFL, in the racing
off season. I love what I get to do for a living,
and could never imagine not doing it. I feel
Perhaps a little personal information? Are
you currently seeing anyone special?
I am not seeing anyone; I am married to my job
and always have been. Due to my travel schedule
I don't date much, but would love to one day
meet the right guy. For now, though, I am very
content with my career as being my 'other half.'
I would never date a professional athlete that
I was covering, or would have a reason to cover.
I do not believe in mixing career and personal
What does Courtney George do for fun/relaxation?
Are you a tekkie person?
I workout - run, bike, and life weights. Weight-lifting
is my main stress release, and I can spend hours
in the gym doing that. I like crafts, decorating,
movies, travel and dancing. I love to dance.
One day hope to learn how to cook, but for now
the microwave or ordering in (food) works for
me! And you know that I have cats and love animals.
I love my laptop and all my toys attached! It
goes everywhere with me. In college, I took
web design classes. I like to design homes with
an AutoCAD-type program I have. I don't own
a home yet, but one day hope to so I work on
my perfect house in my spare time - or when
I'm stuck at the airport in a long layover.
I don't have much time for movies or reading
with my schedule, but I did just finish The
DaVinci Code. I actually like true crime stories.
I tend to read those when I get a chance. Most
of the time, I am reading race reports and or
releases from race teams. It's all work reading
during the racing season! As you might suspect,
I am a huge Law and Order, CSI, and Crossing
Jordan fan. I watch Law and Order reruns on
the road in hotels. I can always find that on
TNT it seems! And, I love music, particularly
Do you think women are being taken seriously,
at last, as drivers in NASCAR?
I think that NASCAR is very non gender specific
on the actual track. I really think if a woman
can drive, she can drive and the other male
drivers don't see her gender. Maybe the fans
do, but from my experience in the pits and in
the garage the guys really don't look at that
as an issue, which I have always thought was
Besides covering NASCAR for Speed TV, do
you have any other immediate plans in sports
SPEED (SpeedChannel) is my focus and my priority.
Working on NASCAR Nation is first and foremost
for me. Perhaps if I can be on the football
sidelines in the off season, that would be super,
but SPEED is my number one concern and right
now they're getting my primary focus and full
attention. NASCAR racing is an incredibly exciting,
fun sport and I appreciate the opportunity to
work in providing sports coverage and features
Thank you Courtney, for taking the time out
of your busy schedule to talk with us! Our readers
will enjoy getting to know you a bit!
It is obvious that in Courtney George, SpeedChannel
easily has the 'best and the brightest' in their
fold. We look forward to watching her career
progress. It is exciting and refreshing to see
such a candid, responsive, and capable young
woman paving the way for women in serious sports
reporting and coverage. Courtney is already
extremely knowledgeable about NASCAR racing,
and it is obvious that she has a passion for
this sport, as well as others. Someday, we will
see another young woman coming up in the ranks
of sports reporting and when asked about her
role models, she will say "Courtney George
inspired me because I watched her when I was
a kid and I wanted to be a sports reporter just
In Courtney, SpeedChannel definitely has a genuine
diamond. In diamonds, there are the famous four
factors in determining value. As they say, you
look for the 4 "C's" - carat, cut,
clarity and color. Perhaps that should now be
amended to 5 "C's" because in Courtney,
SpeedChannel has found a spectacular gem in
the person of this outgoing, vivacious, personable
and outstanding sports reporter.
For information on Valerie Wood 's novel, Enforcer,
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