Karie Ross Dombrowski is an ex-ESPN sportscaster and color commentator for various sports outlets. She is also a Journalism graduate from Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma, where she returned for a Q&A session with some of the brightest and up-in-coming journalism students.
I joined the large crowd of about 50 people who gathered in Gaylord to listen to Karie Ross’s life story and wisdom. The event began with the dean of Gaylord College, Ed Kelly, introducing Ross by providing the audience with some background information on her. Ross then took over and began to tell us basically her entire life story and how she got to where she is now.
Her story began with her at OU as a journalism major. She graduated and joined KFOR, the local news station for Oklahoma City, as a broadcaster. She did both normal news as well as sports. She described how this was a huge feat for her because during this time, the news, was a male dominated profession, and a female talking about sports on the news was almost unheard of. She explained how her co-workers and higher-ups were extremely supportive of her which helped to propel her career. She then told us how she was hired by the local news station in Columbus, Ohio to cover Ohio State sports. This was another large step forward for Ross’s career in sports. After a few years with the news station, she was hired by ESPN to join the College Gameday crew which was a goal of hers since being a kid. After some discrepancies that occurred at ESPN, Ross moved on to an up-in-coming sports network called SNN. SNN was before its time, as it was the first 24/7 sports news network. SNN was ultimately bought out by another larger network, and this moved Ross on to a small sports news network in Las Vegas. Ross did not enjoy this position very much because the market for sports was so small in Vegas, and she was always undermined by her colleagues for being a woman . From there, Ross moved on to a sports news network in Miami, Florida where she was the lead reporter for all things Miami sports related. During her tenure with the news station, there were allegations that Ross was having an affair with Dave Dombrowski, the owner and general manager of a brand new start-up professional baseball team called the Miami Marlins. Eventually Dave and Ross had to address the allegations, and they admitted to their secret relationship. This caused Ross to have to step down from her current job, as it was a conflict of interests to have their lead sportscaster dating the owner of the Miami Marlins. Ross and Dombrowski eventually got married and had 2 kids. One of which attends Ross’s alma matter at the University of Oklahoma. Dave Dombrowski won a World Series Championship with the Marlins in 1997 before moving to Detroit to take over as president of baseball operations and general manager for the Tigers. Dombrowski then left the Tigers organization in 2004 and is now currently the general manager for the Boston Red Sox where Ross and her family currently reside.
Karie Ross’s story was incredibly inspiring to me. It was extremely informative in the sense of learning about the ins and outs of the sports world, and how once she got her foot in the door it allowed her career to take off. I was incredibly inspired by Ross’s grit and how hard she worked to get to the positions she was in. It was inspiring to learn about the adversity and challenges she faced with being a woman trying to succeed in a profession that was ruled by men. She never let the fact of her being a woman stop her from achieving her goals. I also took great pleasure in learning how she never sacrificed her morals no matter what she could get in return like how many men in power would offer her a raise or promotion if she would go out with them. It was inspiring to hear from one of the greatest sportscasters of all time, and to learn about what she has done since I want to pursue a career in sports as well.
Her final note to us was to be patient. She said we live in a generation of “now,” where everyone wants things right away, but nothing good ever comes right away. Good comes to those who work hard and wait. She said every opportunity she had if she rewound a year before she would’ve never envisioned herself where she was. Her advice, wisdom, and story were extremely insightful and inspiring and it is something I will never forget.