WOUB Connection on Display at Miss USA 2020

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Allie LaForce announced as host of November competition

ATHENS, OH – When the pandemic struck in March, TNT Basketball Sideline Reporter Allie LaForce’s very busy life covering college and professional basketball came to a grinding halt. But the former WOUB student recently went back to work inside the NBA bubble and found a new opportunity that the slowing of the professional sports schedule made possible. She will be the host of the 2020 Miss USA competition.

“I am so honored to be the host for the 2020 Miss USA competition,” said LaForce. “When I won Miss Teen USA in 2005, I remember telling myself that I was going to work hard enough to host one day. This is a dream come true.”

LaForce says her connection to another former WOUB student and Ohio University alumna, Paula Shugart, helped make this happen. Shugart is the president of the Miss Universe organization.

LaForce and Shugart on stage together at Miss Teen USA 2005
LaForce and Shugart on stage together at Miss Teen USA 2005

“Paula and I were catching up one day and we both realized that my schedule would now be open during the Miss USA competition,” said LaForce. “She said, ‘Do you want to host?’ and I jumped at the chance.”

Shugart graduated from Ohio University in 1981. She worked at WOUB in the newsroom, learning how to be an on-air anchor and in the production department, learning to be a director behind the scenes. Because of what WOUB did for her, Shugart knew LaForce would be successful in her sports broadcasting career and that she was a perfect fit to host the Miss USA pageant.

“This has actually been a dream for both of us,” said Shugart. “Allie is incredibility talented, and she speaks to everything that this brand is about. Allie is confident and knows what it’s like to be on that stage competing. Professionally, she’s also carved out a niche in a male-dominated world and held her own. She’s everything the Miss USA brand is about.”

LaForce graduated from Ohio University in 2011 with a degree in broadcast journalism. She worked as a student sports reporter and anchor at WOUB while playing on the Ohio University women’s basketball team. LaForce says all her accomplishments while she was a student at Ohio University were dreams come true and made possible by the support of the Miss USA organization.

“Pageants receive a lot of criticism. Having minored in women’s studies, while also writing an undergraduate thesis on the objectification of women in sports, I understand how it can seem surface level. However, the Miss USA organization never put me in a box. They gave me the wings I needed to fly,” said LaForce. “I told them I wanted to be a journalist even though my title came with free acting school. They put me in touch with the Ohio University journalism team.”

Both LaForce and Shugart say their time at Ohio University and WOUB gave them the skills they needed to reach their professional goals.

“My career and the path I took, the roots are all at WOUB,” said Shugart. “I had the good fortune of working at WOUB for two summers. The hands-on experience I got; you can’t replicate that anywhere. When I moved out to Los Angeles after graduation, I was leaps and bounds ahead of people in LA because I had the experience from WOUB.”

“At WOUB, you have a job from the very second you walk in the door,” said LaForce. “Whether it is working on the radio at 5 a.m., producing a program or anchoring a show. You can do anything and everything. I got the ability to hone my skills, try different things and learn about leadership and responsibility. WOUB gives the students the trust and ability to do great work and grow in their craft.”

The Miss USA pageant will be held on tonight (November 9) in Memphis, Tennessee.