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“You’re going to be national someday.”
That’s what Curt Menefee’s mother said to him when he told her he was moving to New York to become a sports anchor, two years before she passed away at the age of 97.
27 years later, she’s still right.
In life, there are those who crave the spotlight and unabashedly fight to secure it. Then there are others who are bestowed the spotlight because their accomplishments and talent speak volumes.
Fox Sports’ Curt Menefee is of the latter.
Oftentimes, individuals like Menefee are overlooked for they aren’t the loudest in the room. They don’t slam their fists into their chests to purposely demand attention.
Those built like Menefee actually wield more power than the “look at me” crowd due to their morality, ethics, hard work, professionalism, preparation and upbringing.
They don’t seek attention, power or the crown. They attain it because they’re both deserving of it and because they don’t actually seek it as part of their life’s journey.
In Curt Menefee’s case, he earned it because his life’s journey has always been about the work and not the throne.
Many success stories start in the home. That’s how it started for Menefee.
His work ethic and values were instilled in him and his younger brother by their mother. That’s not an easy task for a single mother raising two boys in inner-city Atlanta.
But values, hard work, focus and a “no excuses” attitude were the mortar for the foundation she built for her sons, and that’s a major part of the reason why he was able to start his sports media career while still in his teens.
“If you want something, you will find a way to get it,” Menefee told me during our interview.
A sports media career was what he wanted so he had to find a way to get it, a challenging task for a Black teen during a time when sports media was far from what it is now.
But that couldn’t stop him.
At 16, Menefee read newspapers out loud in front of the mirror, a practice that makes people more comfortable with public speaking. It was also a precursor for Menefee’s commanding presence in front of a camera.
A year later, a college recruiter came to his high school to speak about Coe College, a small liberal arts institution in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
At a predominantly Black school, the response to Coe was far from enthusiastic.
Yet one student was intrigued, particularly when he heard that broadcasting veteran Fred Hickman was a graduate of the school.
So Menefee picked up the phone and left a message for Hickman, who was at CNN in Atlanta.
A day later, Hickman called back, and the two had a conversation that sparked his broadcasting career.
It started with a CNN internship for Menefee, where he was responsible for logging game times for producers.
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