Memphis native directing Southern Heritage Classic pre-game


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s almost game time for the Southern Heritage Classic, and no one is more excited than Brandy Tate.

“I am so excited to be back in my hometown, representing my job, putting on for my alma mater, Tennessee State,” says Tate.

She has reason to be excited. Before Jackson State and Tennessee State take the field for the 2021 Southern Heritage Classic Football Game, she was in the booth serving as lead director for ESPN’s First Take broadcast, highlighting the game, players, and the city to millions of viewers.

“They could have volunteered me. I was ready to go without pay for this one because I was so proud and excited to show my city and who we are and what we present and how we represent the 901,” she said.

Brandy Tate is ESPN’s first African American female director to come up through the ranks and take a lead director’s seat.

“I am from Memphis, Tennessee, and we make history all the way, don’t we?” she said.

As lead director, the shots on Final Take, the coaches interviews, the highlights for the pre-game were all part of her vision. But taking a lead is nothing new to this Memphis native, who graduated from Overton High School and then TSU.

She started her TV career right here at WREG, where she went from a floor camera operator, to part time director and eventually to show director.

“Channel 3 gave me the groundwork for where I am today,” said Tate. “I learned how to do so many things.”

Her talents were soon recognized nationally when she made the leap to network moving to ESPN.

“I have been part of big productions such as Super Bowl this past year, college football championships for the last couple of years,” she says.

Now she has one of the biggest assignments of her career, proving dreams do come true.

“Keep doing what you are doing. Don’t stop what you are doing. Learn. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to reach out,” says Tate.

ESPN’s Final Take broadcast aired Friday morning from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

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