Debbie Antonelli is a college basketball analyst who calls college basketball games for ESPN, Big Ten Network, CBS, FOX, and Westwood One. She also calls WNBA games for ESPN, NBATV, and is the main play-by-play voice of the Indiana Fever, a position she has held since 1996.
Antonelli has a widespread workload during basketball season that has now lasted for 27 years. In November and December, she typically calls one to three games each week. Amongst the broadcasts are South Carolina Gamecocks and Tennessee Lady Volunteers games on Fox Sports South. Once January hits, Antonelli broadcasts 3 to 5 games each week.
Beginning in January, Antonelli calls women's games from the Big Ten Conference for BTN Monday's. Saturday's are spent with Conference USA or the Big 12 Conference calling games for FSN, Sunday's are with ACC Regional or ESPN calling an ACC or SEC game, and some Tuesday's and Wednesday's are with CBS Sports Network calling games for the American Athletic Conference or the Patriot League. She also serves as one of the 3 analysts calling games for College Basketball on CBS's January Saturday women's triple header.
Antonelli was born and raised in Cary, North Carolina. After graduating high school, she was offered a position at NC State as a forward. Antonelli accepted, and from 1982 to 1986 she played for Coach Kay Yow, starting three of the seasons. To this date, Antonelli applies the principles Yow taught her to her family, friends, and surroundings. During her time at NC State, the Wolfpack made the NCAA Tournament four times and appeared in the Sweet Sixteen twice.
After graduating with a double major in business management and economics from NC State, Antonelli would travel to Ohio University where she would spend the next year getting a master's degree in sports administration. While at Ohio she would meet the man she would marry, Frank, and she served as the student assistant women's basketball coach. Her degree from Ohio allowed Antonelli to spend the next four years as Director of Marketing at the University of Kentucky before moving on to a similar role at Ohio State University. While serving at Kentucky, Antonelli constantly thought of how she would become an athletic director. Little did she realize her sports dreams lay elsewhere.
Antonelli's time at Ohio State paved the way to her broadcasting career today. Upon her arrival Ohio State didn't have any women's games on television, so Antonelli went to a local station and had them figure out how much it would cost to air 8 women's games a season on local TV. Antonelli gathered the needed sponsors to produce those games, and as a bonus she became the play-by-play voice for Ohio State for those games. She would serve in this capacity for five years, and when she wasn't producing and broadcasting Ohio State women's games, she would serve as the analyst for Dayton Flyers men's basketball games during three of those years. However she remained the Director of Marketing. In 1992, Antonelli would marry Frank. In 1995 she would have her first child. The birth of her first child also helped settle her mind on sports broadcasting. Shortly thereafter, she would sign on as a full-time broadcaster.
ESPN and CSTV would hire Antonelli as an analyst for select games, and the work would continue to grow. To this date Anteonlli continues to broadcast through the Elite Eight for ESPN's NCAA Women's Tournament coverage. Additionally Westwood One would hire her to be the analyst for their Final Four broadcasts, a position she has held since 2000. One of her greatest achievements came in 2007 when she won the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Mel Greenberg Media Award, an award which recognizes a member of the media who has best displayed a commitment to women's basketball and to advancing the role of the media in promoting the women's game.
Today Antonelli lives with her husband, Frank, in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The couple has three children, Joey, Frankie, and Patrick, one of whom suffers from Down syndrome. During the off-season Antonelli provides basketball camps and clinics for the local community. She and her family also run the foundation "Frankie and Friends," an organization whose main purpose is to stop bullying in schools.