ESPN Host and Reporter, Wendi Nix: Proud of Her South Carolina Roots

By Leslie Moore

ESPN Host and Reporter, Wendi Nix: Proud of Her South Carolina Roots

Local sports fans will recognize the beautiful, blond ESPN reporter and host, Wendi Nix. What they might not know is Wendi grew up in Murrells Inlet and, if you listen very carefully, you still might hear just a touch of the south in her on-air remarks. Wendi’s friendly, positive outlook, along with her up-to-the-minute knowledge of professional and college sports, has made her a favorite of viewers tuning in to her commentary. Her contract with ESPN has just been renewed, and Wendi will be spending more time in the studio doing NFL and college football reporting. She graciously agreed to talk to Sasee and give us a little more insight into her life and work.

“Growing up in Murrells Inlet was great,” remembers Wendi. “I’m a beach girl and would be perfectly happy to be on the Inlet or the beach 24 hours a day.” Typical of many teenagers along the Grand Strand, Wendi and her friends spent sunny days lying on the beach watching the local surfers. The beach and school activities, especially Friday night football games, were the hub of her social life as a student at Socastee High School.

“I was exposed to a lot of different things at Socastee High School. You don’t know for sure that you’ve gotten a good education until you get out around other people and experiences. But, I’ve traveled around the country and met a lot of different people and never felt unprepared. I’m still a big proponent of public education.”

After high school, Wendi attended Wofford College, graduating with a degree in French and Economics. “I chose a liberal arts education because I wanted to be well-rounded.” But, Wendi always knew she wanted to be a reporter. “During career day in the 5th grade a reporter came to school, and I stalked her! We were supposed to go to three different sessions, but I stayed with her the entire day.”

Wendi went on to say that today’s graduates are much more technically savvy than she was when she entered the business. “Now, the students know how to edit, shoot and understand all the latest technology. I learned to write and to communicate because I knew I would change as I got older. You never know how long you’re going to want to do something.”

Sports were always a big part of Wendi’s life. Her father was a high school football coach and the entire family was involved in practices and games. “I was born on a Friday night, and my dad was coaching! Even after he left coaching, both of my parents went to my high school games. I am a big believer in involving girls in sports. It’s great for self-esteem and reducing the chance of teen pregnancy, as well as counteracting that feeling that they’re defined by their appearance.”

After college, Wendi went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Sports Management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and did an internship at a television station in Boston. Her first on-air position was with WPDE 15 in Myrtle Beach, where she reported the news and was able to fill in for the sportscaster. “It was like I was living a dream,” Wendi laughed. “This was the most wonderful job; I thought I had won the lottery. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited.”

Wendi Nix: Photo 2

Before she was on-air at ESPN, Wendi was a viewer and was influenced by some of the great women sportscasters, like Robin Roberts, who now works for ABC’s Good Morning America. “I never knew any of them personally until I went to work at ESPN,” she remembers, “but they let me know that it can be done. During each stage of my career someone has given me a shot, even though I wasn’t sure I was quite ready – those people are so important; you can’t get experience without actually doing it.”

Being a celebrity has it downside; just search anyone famous on the internet, and you’ll find pages of doctored photos, off color comments, etc. I asked Wendi how she felt about some of the less than flattering information posted about her, and she told me she doesn’t read any of it. “Eventually, you have to decide that you’re comfortable in your own skin. For the most part I just tune it out. I make sure I’m comfortable with the choices I’m making and, it’s important to me that any young person watching be comfortable with what they see me say and do.”

Wendi’s typical day starts eight or nine hours before the actual show goes on the air, and she told me one of her favorite things about her work is that there really isn’t such a thing as a typical day! “We meet and brainstorm first thing. After we come up with a plan for the show, we catch up on what’s happening then come back together and start writing the show. Our day is almost done by the time we start doing the actual broadcast. Information cycles are so short now that it’s a struggle to stay on top of everything. I have to constantly watch, even on my days off.”

I just had to ask Wendi the locker room question, and she told me that it was all she knew, really, and rarely thought anything about it. Her skill and knowledge are what’s truly important, and she and the players she interviews mostly forget that she’s a woman in a men’s locker room.

Our community loves sports and our local teams, and I asked Wendi’s opinion about a couple of favorites. “The Gamecocks have a great baseball team – they are a powerhouse team with some remarkable talent. South Carolina’s team is the premier program in the country right now.” Wendi also feels that the Gamecocks’ football team has stepped up and made some real progress. “I almost feel like they’ll have a good season, but know that I’m notorious for making bad predictions!” Also, our own Chanticleers baseball team has also caught Wendi’s attention. “Without the same resources as the larger teams, they’ve really done great. The area and the region are attractive and are noticed by a lot of northern kids who would love to go to school at the beach.”

Blessed with beauty as well as brains, I asked Wendi how she stays fit and attractive. She laughed and told me she spends a lot of time running to catch planes, but this sports-minded woman loves being active and plays golf and runs often. “I also love kayaking and hiking, but I have a short attention span and have to change it up.” Living in cold country has given Wendi a new love for winter sports as well.

I expected Wendi to tell me about extensive beauty regimes, but she doesn’t really do anything special. “I spend a lot of time in the fresh air; I have a beach house in New England where I spend as much time as I can. In general I’m happy and that seems to help me look my best, but a little concealer doesn’t hurt either!” Like most of us, Wendi does love shoes. “I want to kick down the glass ceiling, but I do not have to do it in ugly shoes!”

During rare times off, Wendi loves to travel. “Greece is one of my favorite places in the world.” But, she is proud of her roots. “I have never felt limited by coming from the South. It’s home and that will never change.”

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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