Hayes leaves Fox 28 for Big Ten Network

Published 8:04 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2013

After almost nine years, Niles native Allison Hayes is leaving Fox 28 to join the Big Ten Network as a sideline reporter. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

After almost nine years, Niles native Allison Hayes is leaving Fox 28 to join the Big Ten Network as a sideline reporter. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Southwest Michigan is saying goodbye to a familiar face.

After nearly nine years as a sportscaster at WSJV Fox 28, Allison Hayes is moving to the Big Ten Network.

Hayes did her last Fox 28 broadcast Sunday night. She will begin her duties with the Big Ten Network next week.

Fans have been sending her well wishes since she made the announcement a couple of weeks ago.

“That is going to be the hardest part about leaving,” Hayes said. “When I said I was leaving, so many people were contacting me and telling me how much they were going to miss me. That was really amazing and eye opening. I had no idea. It has been so nice to hear that.”

Hayes’ journey to the Big Ten Network has been five years in the making.

“When the Big Ten Network first started I thought it was a perfect fit in my mind,” she said. “In 2008 I was offered a job, but I was pregnant at the time with Emery so I turned it down. I wondered if I was making a mistake, but the timing just wasn’t right.”

The network came calling again in December of 2008 and offered her a chance to cover Purdue basketball. She again turned them down as she had Emery just 10 days later.

Over the last few years she had kept in contact with the network, but no positions had opened up.

Last January while in South Florida covering Notre Dame in the National Championship Game, Hayes ran into an old friend who worked with Sports Illustrated.

He said he knew some of the people at the Big Ten Network and he would see what he could do.

“Months went by and I didn’t hear anything and then one day he called and said he had talked to them and they were still interested in hiring me,” Hayes recalled. “I called right away and I didn’t even have an interview. They said they would put me on the schedule.”

In July the schedule was released for the network’s coverage plans and there she was. She will be covering Ohio State next week and Michigan State the following week.

Hayes said she will be mainly covering Michigan State, including the Spartans’ trip to Notre Dame Stadium Sept. 21.

She will be covering primarily football and basketball.

Hayes said the nice thing about her schedule will be that she can continue to call Niles home.

“This is where I want to raise my daughter. This is where my family is,” she said.

Hayes said she will miss covering high school athletics, which she loves, but she will get a chance to get out to some games and just be a fan.

She also will miss working with Fox 28 sports anchor Dean Huppert, who was extremely supportive of her moving on.

“I will miss Sports Xtra on Friday nights and the Golf Challenge,” Hayes said. “Dean was awesome about it. He was so supportive. He told me that I had earned it and that the sky was the limit.”