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From flag football to the NFL
CUHS alumnus now has inside track to 49ers
It's 181 miles from the tiny town of Richfield, just outside of Corning, to Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
For Matt Maiocco, a 1985 graduate of Corning Union High School, it's a trip he's made both figuratively and literally, as his career path has taken him from covering flag football games for Richfield Elementary School to the sidelines and the locker room of the San Francisco 49ers.
Maiocco's first journalistic endeavor came early, but whetted his appetite for the rush that can come with sports reporting, and helped him decide what he wanted to do with his future.
"My first article that was published was when I was in seventh or eighth grade and playing flag football at Richfield. My coach/teacher John Steffan asked me to write up a little report and it was printed in the Corning (Daily) Observer," he recalled. "I was the kind of kid who would run to the end of our driveway to get the paper every morning and come back and read only the sports section, so I loved the idea of writing sports for the newspaper."
Maiocco continued combining his enjoyment of sports with his love of writing by working as a stringer (a freelance reporter) for the Corning Daily Observer and Red Bluff Daily News, until he began college at Humboldt State University in Arcata.
While in college Maiocco worked at the Eureka Times-Standard, until he graduated in 1990 with a degree in journalism and moved to the Bay Area.
Chiefly used as a prep reporter, Maiocco was also a back-up reporter to cover the Giants, Athletics, 49ers, Raiders and Warriors, and worked stints at the Contra Costa Times, Santa Rosa Press Democrat and the Oakland Tribune.
His first big break came in 1995.
"When the Raiders moved back to Oakland in '95, the reporter who had been covering the 49ers moved over to cover the Raiders, and I slid into the role of 49ers reporter," Maiocco said.
Since 1985 he has covered the 49ers year-round, and in 2010 he got his second big break when he was hired by Comcast SportsNet as a 49er Insider for CSN Bay Area.
"I write about the team for the 49ers and their website, am also on TV daily talking about them, and also do some radio," Maiocco explained.
He has also been blessed with something most reporters dream of - freedom.
"I have autonomy in what I write and talk about. I know the team, and what's news and what should be talked about," he explained. And with that comes complete access to the names and faces the 49er fan base cheers for on Sundays and the occasional Monday or Thursday night.
That first introduction into the world of the professional athlete might prove daunting to rookie reporters, but Maiocco maintains he has never been too star-struck to do his job.
"I don't know that I was," he said. "When I started Steve Young was the quarterback and Jerry Rice was still on the team. Young was a good guy and there was no intimidation period. I had a good rapport."
Maiocco's typical day - if there is such a thing - begins at the end of morning practice for the Niners.
"I'm here by the time the team gets off the field from the morning walk-through, and I talk to (coach) Jim Harbaugh for updates. Then I go into the locker room for stories and clarification, where I follow up on leads and get a head count and injury updates."
He is responsible for providing 3-5 blog posts a day, and also going on TV, where he may do a "stand-up" from the football field or a "talk back" with the TV anchor.
And it's all football, all the time, which scores a big touchdown for the former Cardinal.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or email@example.com.