ESPN statistician and Ferris alumnus shares his journey about following his dream
According to Gilbert Bransford, Ferris State alumni and ESPN employee, the most exciting thing about working at ESPN is no day is ever the same.
Since Bransford was five years old, he knew his dream was to work at ESPN. He saw his chance when he attended a journalism conference in Chicago as a recent graduate.
“ESPN had a table at this conference, and I must have walked by it four or five times just trying to get the courage to say anything. Luckily I ran into one of my friends I went to college with and he had been working there for four years,” Bransford said. “He introduced me to his boss, and once I started talking to him I was just fine. It was just getting the opportunity to talk to someone.”
After the conference and Bransford’s conversation, he landed a phone interview with ESPN where they asked him trivia questions about his favorite and least favorite sports.
“As much research as I did, my mind still went blank because it was ESPN. I ended up getting offered a position as a project statistics associate,” Bransford said. “The maximum number of hours I was guaranteed was 24 a week and I had to move out there [Connecticut] on my own dime. I almost considered not taking it.”
Fortunately for Bransford, his uncle convinced him to take the job and follow his dream. When he arrived in Bristol, Conn. in August 2009, Bransford’s new focus was on how he was going to set himself apart from the other employees.
His job was to provide accurate entry of game box scores and make calls to verify those scores. Bransford spent extra hours learning and volunteered for additional opportunities when possible.
In March 2010, Bransford was hired as a statistics associate I, and then in November 2010 was promoted to statistics associate II where he worked with not only statistics, but also video analysis for college football, basketball, as well as the NBA.
In February 2011, Bransford was promoted to statistics analyst I, which is what he is currently doing. One day, he hopes to be on television talking about the sports he loves.
Bransford graduated from Ferris State University in May 2009 with a degree in applied speech communication. He added that communication and learning how to talk to employers were the biggest things he had taken away from Ferris.
“My advice to students with big dreams is don’t give up, and do not get discouraged,” Bransford said. “It’s very easy because the process is long and drawn out, but take advantage of the opportunities. It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know and what you can prove to them after you get