CB East Grad is Voice of UConn Women's BB

When Meghan Pattyson Culmo was a senior at Central Bucks East she had some of the biggest powers in college basketball recruiting her. However, Pattyson, a forward, decided to go to a college program where she was comfortable even though the chances of playing in a Final Four seemed slim.

Pattyson decided to play for coach Geno Auriemma at UConn.

Now coming off its seventh NCAA championship last month and currently holding a 72-game winning streak, it may seem absurd to think of the University of Connecticut as anything but the top women's basketball program in the country. But when Pattyson was decided on college in 1988, schools recruiting her like Villanova and Rutgers had much bigger national profiles then the Huskies.

"I didn't even think about going to a Final Four when I picked them," remembers Pattyson, now a mother of three living in the Hartford area. "I'm still in awe when I walk into a gym and it’s filled. I remember when we won the Big East and it was empty."

UConn had never even qualified for the NCAA Tournament before Pattyson arrived at Storrs. By her junior season, she named Big East Tournament MVP and UConn reached its first Final Four.

Once they were on the national scene, the Huskies never left, winning their first NCAA title in 1995. Pattyson was one of Auriemma's assistants on that championship team.

"I certainly couldn't imagine what has happened when I went there," said Pattyson. "Although no one could have predicted it, it's also not totally surprising.

"For me, it was really an easy decision. I got along really well with (associate head coach) Chris Dailey and then I met Geno. It was really the people involved that made me want to go there. I believed in what they were doing."

Pattyson made many colleges believe in her while playing for the Patriots. When she graduated, Pattyson was East’s all-time leading scorer with 1,260 points and had averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds in her career.

She also was one of the first girls’ soccer stars in the history of the Suburban One League. The Patriots had varsity soccer her final two years and she played sweeper. CB East went 30-2-5 during her time on the soccer field and won its first two SOL titles.

Pattyson has been an eyewitness to the history of the building and maintaining of UConn as a powerhouse.

After graduating with a degree in Communications in 1992, Pattyson became an assistant at UConn but realized coaching was not what she wanted to do the rest of her life and gave it up in 1995. She decided to use her degree and became a successful announcer.

She started doing UConn games on the radio but soon branched out into television, flying all over the country doing college games for ESPN and WNBA games for the Lifetime network. She also became the color commentator for UConn's games broadcast by the Connecticut Public TV network.

After a while, the travel was not what Pattyson was looking for, so she decided to give up national TV and just do the UConn games. About 20 Huskies’ games a year are televised on the network, and she also is the host of Auriemma's TV show.

Of course, broadcasting 20 games a year leaves a lot of free time, and Pattyson's life took an unexpected turn.

She is a lobbyist for the firm of Roy and LeRoy LLC at the state capital in Hartford. Among its clients are Aetna, IMG, hospitals and insurance companies. When not on the court, she can be found usually at the capital working for her clients.

"I never expected to be a lobbyist," she said. "The guy who owned my home was a UConn grad, and when I told him I wasn't doing TV anymore, he suggested I should look at being one. I worked for one semester in the public relations department at UConn, and then I met with people at Roy and LeRoy and they hired me. It's been almost 10 years now. I never would have thought I'd be doing this.

"When the legislature is in session, I'm at the capital basically every day."

Of course, the politicians at the capital like nothing more than talking UConn women's basketball, just like the rest of the state.

"You have to remember, there is no pro team here, so UConn women's and men's basketball is really big," said Pattyson. "It's been pandemonium here for I'd say 10 years. It's just been staggering and the fans have been able to experience so much success. People come up to me when there is a close game, like winning by 15 points, and ask what is wrong."

Besides announcing and the lobbying, Pattyson soon got even busier. She was at a restaurant with friends before a Huskies men's game and Angelo Culmo, a former football player at Springfield College, was at the same restaurant with a group of his friends.

They have been married for six years. They have three children, Angelo IV, 5, Kathleen, 4, and Claire, 18 months.

"My plate is pretty full," said Pattyson.

While her life has taken many interesting turns, there is one road that Pattyson has closed. Although a popular and well-known figure in the state who is involved in government, do not expect to follow in the footsteps of other basketball stars like Bill Bradley and run for elective office.

"Never," she says. "I never say never about anything, because you never know what the future will bring, but I will say never to that."