Tafoya's hiring marks third change since '02

Updated: May 3, 2004, 5:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Michele Tafoya has been hired by ABC Sports to replace Lisa Guerrero as the sideline reporter for "Monday Night Football" telecasts, the network announced Monday.

Tafoya, who spent last football season as ESPN's on-site reporter at "Monday Night Football" games, joined ABC Sports two years ago as a courtside reporter on ABC's NBA telecasts. She will work her second NBA Finals for ABC Sports in June.

Michelle Tafoya
ABC Sports has handed off its "Monday Night Football" sideline reporter's role to versatile veteran Michele Tafoya.

"Michele will be a great asset to 'Monday Night Football,' " Mike Pearl, senior vice president and executive producer at ABC Sports, said in a statement. "She has done a terrific job on our NBA telecasts, and she will bring to the show a first-rate knowledge of the NFL. She is a top-notch reporter."

Guerrero, whose performance was often criticized in the national media, has been reassigned to an undetermined role, the network said. But in discussing the switch Monday, "Monday Night Football" producer Fred Gaudelli said he didn't think Guerrero was a good fit for the job.

"The sideline reporter role is in an incredibly hectic environment, nothing is predictable," Gaudelli said. "It was our hope that we would work like gangbusters to expedite that curve as quickly as we could, but in the end the talent and role weren't as compatible."

ABC Sports spokesman Mark Mandell said the network has just started talks with Guerrero about future assignment and did not have anything to announce at this time.

Before replacing Melissa Stark on "Monday Night Football", Guerrero worked as a broadcaster, actress and newspaper writer.

Tafoya joined ESPN in 2000 and also serves as an NBA sideline reporter for the network. Her additional roles include men's and women's NCAA basketball play-by-play and studio host, and sideline reporter for college football and basketball telecasts. She also has served as a substitute host on "Pardon the Interruption" and as a panelist on "Sports Reporters II."

Previously, Tafoya's ESPN assignments have included calling WNBA games, hosting skiing telecasts and working on ESPN's college basketball selection shows as a reporter.

Prior to joining ESPN, Tafoya worked for CBS Sports since 1994 as a game reporter and studio host for NFL, college football and college basketball telecasts.

Tafoya's hiring marks the third change in as many seasons to MNF's sideline role. Stark and Eric Dickerson were paired for the 2000 and 2001 seasons, but Dickerson was not brought back the following year.

Stark announced last spring that she was expecting her first child and would not be returning for a fourth season. Two months later, she was hired by NBC to be a national correspondent for the "Today'' show and to help cover the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.