If you look closely at the TV screen during Super Bowl 50 this Sunday, you might catch a glimpse of UNCG, right there on the sidelines. It’s Dominique Madruga ’15, realizing her dream.

As a member of the Carolina Panthers Television Network production crew, the former Spartan softball star has traded in her bat and glove for a headset and microphone, and she’s loving every second of it.

Working in sports broadcasting – specifically football – is something Madruga has dreamed about since she was a child. Growing up in San Diego, she spent Sunday afternoons watching NFL games with her father.

“I couldn’t play football as a girl, but I always envisioned myself being involved with the game in some way,” she said.

Madruga joined the production crew last summer after graduating from UNCG with a bachelor’s degree in communications. From helping produce the seven shows that run each week on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel to interviewing players and producing videos for Panthers.com, Madruga has her hands in just about everything.

Photo of Dominique Madruga watching confetti fall after a Panthers win

Dominique Madruga celebrates on the field after the Carolina Panthers defeat the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC championship game on Jan. 24 at Bank of America Stadium.

“Being here has been such a blessing,” she said. “My boss took a chance on me and has really given me the opportunity to grow. I’ve learned so much from so many people.”

Madruga interned with the Carolina Panthers during the summer of 2014 after Head Coach Ron Rivera, a close family friend from California, encouraged her to come work at the Panthers’ training camp.

“Going into my junior year, Ron sat down with me to discuss my future and career options,” she said. “No matter what, I knew that I wanted to stay in sports.”

During her senior year, Madruga spent time at Bank of America Stadium shadowing Mike Craft, senior producer of digital media for the Panthers. Upon graduation, she received an offer to work for the franchise.

What’s her favorite part of the job? The stories she gets to tell.

“There are so many Panthers players who have amazing stories, and I want to share those,” she said.

For Madruga, storytelling is a key component of her long-term plan.

“I’d like to do something along the lines of ESPN’s 30 for 30, but a little different,” she said. “I want to take a player like Greg Olsen and truly tell his story – where he came from and how he got to where he is today. I feel like what I want to do doesn’t really exist yet, which is exciting.”

As she looks ahead to Super Bowl Sunday, Madruga is thankful for her time at UNCG and the way it prepared her for a successful career.

“UNCG was a place that really helped me grow up. I’ve taken the competitiveness I had as a student athlete and applied it to this industry,” she said. “It’s clear to me that coming to Greensboro was part of a bigger plan.”

While Madruga is busy capturing all the action on the field, three other Spartans – senior Annalise Coleman, Madelyn Hoover ’11 and Whitleigh Cook ’10 – will be cheering on the Panthers as members of the TopCats cheerleading squad.

It’s safe to say that this Sunday, you can find Spartan Nation in San Francisco.

 

Are you pulling for the Panthers to win the Super Bowl? Share a photo or video of your best “Dab” on social media by tagging it #SpartanDab. 

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Relations
Photography provided by Dominique Madruga