On her walk from the Integrated Media Building on Gonzaga’s campus one day, Kendra Andrews, a freshman at the time, received a text from the sports information director asking if she could meet him at the McCarthey Athletic Center in five minutes to talk with GU basketball player Jeremy Jones. Without hesitation, Andrews said yes, scrambling for questions and writing profusely on her way to the building, taking advantage of the opportunity given to her to complete that story.
Andrews continues that value of taking advantage of her opportunities to this day, as the former Gonzaga Bulletin editor-in-chief was hired as a reporter for the Golden State Warriors for NBC Sports Bay Area. Andrews will be writing, podcasting and doing some television work through sideline reporting with the network.
The Bay Area is filled with a rich sports culture. With “Battles by the Bay” between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics and San Francisco 49ers and Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, as well as the unification of Bay Area sports fans with the Golden State Warriors, San Jose Earthquakes and San Jose Sharks, Bay Area sports culture is unlike any other.
The passion each fanbase shows for its team reflects greatly on those who are a part of each organization, showing pride in being a part of this special community. Andrews knows this better than anyone else, and the Oakland native will now have the chance to rekindle that passion by covering the Warriors.
“Being from the Bay Area, there’s just such a rich sports environment,” Andrews said. “Especially in Oakland, we take such pride in the sports teams that we have and had here. Growing up, entertainment in our family was watching Warriors, the 49ers and the Raiders.”
Prior to being hired by NBCSN, Andrews’ journey in sports media started when she got the opportunity to shadow Associated Press Bay Area sports writer Janie McCauley in her senior year of high school. Enticed by the idea of getting paid to talk and write about sports, Andrews went with McCauley and got a taste of what came with the job. McCauley told Andrews that whatever school she would go to, she would find out who the sports editor and editor-in-chief were and she would write for the school newspaper, leading her to come to GU to do just that.
“I was impressed with her initiative to track me down,” McCauley said. “She reached out to me and I took her under my wing. She was so eager to learn and to go do any different assignments I had.”
Andrews majored in journalism and minored in solidarity and social justice during her time in Spokane. She worked for the Bulletin all four years, moving up from staff writer her freshman year to sports editor her second semester of sophomore year and all of junior year to managing editor fall semester of her senior year and editor-in-chief in her final semester.
Only two years removed from her graduation, Andrews learned during her time at GU that experience is more valuable than a degree. She took advantage of the opportunities given to her by covering a program like GU basketball in a small market and the attraction the program brings as one of the powerhouses of college basketball, receiving lots of coverage on the local scale and increasing coverage on the national scale.
Along with being flexible and prepared for any situation, Andrews also learned to not always go for the obvious story.
“If people want to know what happened in the game, they will either watch it or look at the highlights on ESPN or look at the box score,” Andrews said. “[Media] being there and being in the locker room and getting to know coach Few and the players, you have access to so many things that no one else does, and it’s our job to shed light on that.”
Andrews worked with former Bulletin sports editor Jackson Frank for a year while Frank was a sophomore and Andrews was a junior. Frank said he learned a lot from Andrews, referencing her poise and presence in the newsroom as notable features. While only being a year older than Frank, he said Andrews acted as if she had been in the position before.
After realizing that they were working really well together, Frank said Andrews allowed him to find his stride, eventually passing the baton to him as the new “head” sports editor of the Bulletin. Frank also admires Andrews’ confidence. He said she’s not necessarily afraid to make enemies, but she’s definitely not afraid to ruffle some feathers if it means getting what she wants in her journey as a sports journalist.
“One of [Andrews’] best traits is that she’s very determined,” Frank said. “She has a vision for what she wants in this career and her life to an extent… she’s really great at making connections, she’s really personable and she’s not afraid to put herself out there.”
Andrews and Frank still talk on a weekly basis, and the connection they share continued outside of GU. From having weekly meet-ups at Duffs in the Kennedy Apartments to getting small charcuterie boards prior to Bulletin production nights, the two still have a strong relationship today. Andrews put in a great word for Frank to get a position writing for The Athletic as the GU men’s basketball beat writer.
How did the Andrews Athletic connection come about, exactly? The Seattle editor of The Athletic reached out to Andrews in her senior year and asked her if she wanted to contribute while still at school, and she said yes.
Once graduation came around, in the typical determined and confident fashion of Andrews, she asked if there was an opportunity to continue covering the Zags or if there were other opportunities with The Athletic. After conversations, Andrews found a job with The Athletic covering the Denver Nuggets. Most of her time was spent focusing on writing game recaps and feature stories about the Nuggets, as well as covering other stories that came up within the organization.
Transitioning from the college basketball scene to the professional scene, the one thing that caught Andrews’ attention the most was access. Rather than solely going through the sports information directors, Andrews formed connections with agents and the players themselves to get the information she needed to write her stories. Whether it was having a heart-to-heart conversation with Nuggets forward Will Barton or getting recognition from head coach Michael Malone, Andrews has gotten a lot from her experience in Denver.
“It’s a 24/7 season,” Andrews said. “There really isn’t an offseason because even during the offseason, it’s about trades and the draft and what needs to happen next. There is really no stoppage.”
Similar to Andrews, another East Bay native will be starting a new role of her own. Fellow Oakland native Kamala Harris was recently inaugurated as vice president of the United States three days after Andrews was hired by NBCSN. Wearing an “Oakland in the White House” T-shirt, Andrews said she was inspired seeing Harris as the new vice president, and seeing the parallels the two share with acquiring high level positions in a traditionally white male-dominated industry. Andrews is on her way to inspiring others to do what they love.
Like Harris and President Joe Biden, Andrews will be part of a dynamic duo of her own. Her sister, Malika Andrews, currently works as an NBA reporter and writer for ESPN, and with that, they may be the first sister duo to be sports reporters. Sharing a journey similar to her older sister is something Andrews is proud of, as the East Bay will be repped greatly in the NBA scene.
Little does she know how the same things could be said about herself; Oakland and GU’s own, Kendra Andrews.