With experience in the studio and on the sidelines, Hayley Milon has taken in sporting events from all angles. Whether it’s sitting down with Bradley Beal at a media day event or listening in on a huddle mid-quarter to get an earful of strategy, Milon is always striving to gather the scoop for the audiences at home. With the NCAA tournament fast approaching, we figured we’d play a little role reversal with Milon, learning about her passion for college basketball, her absolute musts and what she does around DC.
On Tap: Have you always been into college basketball? Who’d you root for growing up?
Hayley Milon: Yes, I have. I’m really just a fan of the sport, but I didn’t have a particular team when I was younger. As a kid, I always rooted against the team playing Georgetown, and one year I decided that I hated Duke. My grandfather went to the University of Notre Dame, so I rooted for them as well. Eventually, I went to George Washington University and now that’s my team.
OT: What about college basketball in particular is so special?
HM: It’s my favorite sport to cover because the game is so unpredictable and authentic. You have these storied programs, and schools that have their own character along with the coaches who run them. The culture surrounding the sport is so genuine; it’s all about the game.
OT: What’s your favorite aspect of working the sidelines?
HM: The energy: every arena has its own energy. The student sections are so alive, and you see it specifically during the NCAA tournament. At the college level, you get entertainment and a lively, intimate arena, more so than at an NBA game.
OT: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you on the job?
HM: Definitely the St. Joe’s University student section trying to distract me. They have a hawk mascot that doesn’t stop flapping its wings. When college kids hit the road, and they’re cheering in full force while trying to throw you off your game, it’s fun, but can be a little tough.
OT: What’s your favorite part of the NCAA tournament?
HM: I would say Selection Sunday is one of the best days of the year for me. You finally get to find out the matchups and seedings for the teams you’ve been watching all season. There are always surprises. Then filling out the bracket and the strategy behind that is fun. I fill out probably about seven per year [in case] in the middle of the tournament, my brackets are busted.
OT: Who do you think has a chance to win it all this year?
HM: You always go into it thinking it’s going to be one of the top seeds. Villanova last year is an example. It’s got to be Villanova, Kansas or Gonzaga. I’d put my money on Villanova to repeat.
OT: What’s your favorite restaurant?
HM: I love the Georgetown waterfront, so for the view, Sequoia is great. I love the bars around the area. There are tons of places to catch the games. I’m also a barbecue girl, so I love Hill Country. Country music, barbecue and sweet tea – and maybe a beer – is a great time.
OT: What kinds of movies are you into?
HM: After a long day, I like to unwind with some mindless comedy. I’d watch anything aside from horror movies.
OT: Do you have a favorite theater?
HM: In DC, I like to go catch movies in Chinatown, because you can catch a movie, get a drink and have a good time. If I’m feeling really lazy, I like to sneak a Snuggie into the Tyson’s AMC and just spend a day in my sweats at the movie theater. Yes, I actually bring a Snuggie with me.
OT: What’s your date-night drink?
HM: During the summer, I got hooked on sweet white wine. I really like moscato. When I’m on vacation, I go pina colada all day. I’ve tried to order sophisticated drinks like gin and tonics or cocktails, but they’re just not for me.
OT: What’s your go-to for kicking back?
HM: Blue Moon for sure. It’s just my taste palate.
OT: What kinds of music do you listen to in your leisure?
HM: Every day, I’m a country girl. I like outlaw country, but my preferred pump-up music is 90s rock. I like Metallica, AC/DC, Rise Against and Rage Against the Machine, to name a few.
OT: What’s your favorite venue to see shows?
HM: I like an intimate setting, so I love the 9:30 Club, and a lot of my favorite musicians play there. I like the Randy Rogers Band and Corey Smith, who is one of my all-time favorites that played there. I also enjoy the State Theatre in Falls Church, Va.
Can’t Live Without:
Outdoor gear (in case of weather)
Follow Hayley on Twitter: @HayleyMilon.