Ex-Rocklin volleyball star digs TV career

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Standing out in a crowd is not all that difficult for Ky Bell. The 1998 Rocklin High School graduate is 6-foot-2 and parlayed her height into a volleyball scholarship to Georgia Tech University. Bell’s volleyball action these days is limited to playing in a Tuesday night coed league in San Francisco. All those years of leaping at the net and diving to the floor have taken a toll on her body. “When I try to do what I used to do, that’s when it hurts,” Bell joked. Her interest in sports goes well beyond her weekly volleyball match. Bell found a career in sports after her playing days came to an end by taking a job at Comcast SportsNet West in Sacramento. Bell was hired as an administrative assistant in 2004, but she received an opportunity to learn the television business as the network hustled to launch in time for the start of the NBA season. As the network developed, so did Bell. She put her degree in management and minor in operations to use as she earned promotions to operations director and then to director of programming. Bell was an Academic All-American as a junior and senior at Georgia Tech. She graduated with a 3.97 GPA and then earned a master’s in sports administration at Georgia State. Academics were always as important as athletics for Bell, who heeded the advice of her father Bob. “My dad was so convinced there was no way I was going to get a scholarship, so he told me I had to hit the books,” the 30-year-old Bell recalled. Her work in Sacramento also allowed Bell to live closer to her parents and brother. Her father and mother Fritz are teachers at elementary schools in Rocklin. Her brother Sly lives in Roseville. Her height comes from her 6-3 father. Her mother is just 5-2. When Sly and his wife Heather had a baby boy, Haitham, Bell knew the time had come to go home. Bell left again in 2007, however. Comcast SportsNet Bay Area was in need of a director of programming, and Bell was the ideal choice. She gladly made the move from Sacramento to San Francisco. A Sacramento Kings jersey bearing her name hangs on a wall in her office. The jersey was a gift when she left Comcast SportsNet West, which has since become Comcast SportsNet California. There are also two flat screen televisions in her office so Bell can keep an eye on each network. On one recent morning, Bell watched the simulcast of Gary Radnich’s KNBR radio show on one screen and San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary’s weekly press conference on the other. The San Francisco Giants’ run to the World Series has piled more work on her plate. Then there are the Oakland Raiders, Golden State Warriors, San Jose Sharks, Bay Area colleges, the “Chronicle Live” talk show and “SportsNet Central,” the 30-minute program of news and highlights. “April every year is insane with baseball starting and basketball and hockey still going,” Bell said. “October is getting that way, but having one of our teams in the postseason is awesome.” Bell is responsible for the puzzle that is the programming schedule. One of her co-worker joked she might as well be working in “air traffic control” given all the maneuvering she has to do. Having to be on her toes is nothing new for Bell. She stepped into a career without even knowing it. “I didn’t know anything about TV,” she said, “but I know sports.”