By LARRY VAUGHT
Making a move to Lexington to work for WKYT-TV was an easy decision for sports anchor Kailey Mizelle.
“I think it is a great sports town with Kentucky football, and of course Kentucky basketball, along with high school sports, horse racing. It’s really a central location to a lot of great sports teams and things, and the fans are so passionate about sports,” said Mizelle. “So I at least kind of knew what I was getting into when I came here.”
She was happy to join a sports team that included Brian Millam and Lee K. Howard. She did not know Howard but had worked for the same TV station in Lubbock, Texas, where he once worked and knew about him.
“I knew I was joining the ranks of some really good sports minds,” Mizelle said.
She also knew anchor Rob Bromley was retiring after 40 years at the station.
“We only got to work together for a month but I was so excited to spend that time with him,” Mizelle said. “You are never going to replace a guy like Rob. Never come into that thinking you are that replacement. No one is going to place Rob. He was very unique in the way he was sportscaster as we all are.
“When you go to station where this person is kind of a legend in sportscasting, you don’t try to replace them. Just try to be yourself. The best advice I got when I was younger was not to be someone else. Just be yourself. The viewer turns into watch you and contacts you provide. If you try to be someone else, you are not giving the viewer what he or she is looking for, which is you and your personality. I am just excited to show my personality and be myself and hope the viewers enjoy.”
Mizelle is from Winter Haven, Fla., and had an older brother and a younger brother. She says she was just “one of the guys” playing sports with them growing up a “tomboy” because of the family’s love for sports.
“In high school I was a cheerleader. But we actually paid attention to the game of football. When we cheered, we were not just rally troopers. We were really athletic, too. We trained with the women’s basketball team, and they won the state championship two of the four years I was in high school,” she said. “I played soccer and different things when I was young. I was around baseball the most of all the sports because my little brother played college baseball and my dad coached him until he was in high school.”
Mizelle loves baseball and has worked or covered several minor league teams. Several major league teams had spring training near Winter Haven and she laughs as she recalls times her dad would sneak her out of school early to take her to a spring training game.
“He taught me the game. We would sit in the outfield eating hotdogs and he would tell me everything and that’s where my love for the game comes from,” Mizelle said. “I am passionate about baseball. I met my husband working for a baseball team.”
Her mother was a drama teacher with an English background when she switched to teaching high school journalism and taking over the TV production program at the school. Mizelle liked what her mom was doing and eventually anchored her own middle school and high school news show. She even won awards for some of the newscasts.
“My teachers always said I could talk, so I thought why not make a career out of doing that. There is a lot more to being a TV anchor than just talking, but that’s how I got started. I have been editing video since I was 11 years old,” she said.
She also learned another valuable lesson at an early age — no story is too small to tell. That’s why she says interviewing coach John Calipari or a T-ball player both demand the same respect and treatment.
“Everybody has a story and I am passionate about telling different stories,” she said. “Sports is about telling stories The reason people enjoy things is the story. Sports is more than just the score. It’s about a story, the players, the coaches and what they went through to get where they are going.”
She hopes that passion comes through to WKYT-TV viewers. She doesn’t pretend to be Erin Andrews or Sam Ponder, two successful national sports personalities. She’s just Kailey Mizelle.
“I put a lot of personality into my sports. When I am on air, I am myself. I am not a robot. I am just trying to be myself and hope people enjoy what they see,” the WKYT anchor said.