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CU Buffs legend Shelley Sheetz enjoying radio analyst role

Former All-American point guard joined CU women’s basketball broadcasts this season

BOULDER, CO, Feb. 26, 2022: Former ...
Former great Buff, Shelley Sheetz, does the radio color for the University of Colorado Boulder and Oregon State game in Boulder on February 26, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

After checking into the team hotel in Arizona in January, Colorado women’s basketball senior Mya Hollingshed began calling names and handing out keys.

“Then she says, ‘GOAT!’ And we’re like, ‘Huh?’” CU head coach JR Payne said. “She says, ‘Goat. Shelley, you’re the Goat around here.’”

The GOAT – greatest of all time – Hollingshed was referring to was Shelley Sheetz, who is very much in the conversation as the best player in CU women’s basketball history. Sheetz is also a rookie thoroughly enjoying her new gig as the color analyst on CU’s radio broadcasts.

“It’s been a real joy to be able to kind of give back (to CU) for the first time this way,” Sheetz said.

From 1991-95, Sheetz was a star point guard for the Buffaloes. She helped elevate the program to an elite level with legendary head coach Ceal Barry. During her four years as a player, the Buffs went 106-21 with four NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the Elite Eight.

Sheetz is CU’s only first-team All-American and she still ranks top five in Buffs history points (fifth), assists (third), steals (second) and 3-pointers (second).

After playing professionally, Sheetz spent the past 20 years coaching collegiately, most recently as an assistant at Denver last year. Last summer, Sheetz chose to step away from coaching. She played golf, enjoyed time with her puppy, Chip, and took some time to stop by CU practices.

Meanwhile, Carol Callan, a Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer, elected to step away after nearly four decades of doing color commentary on CU’s radio broadcasts. Cory Lopez, who does play-by-play and enjoyed his partnership with Callan, asked Sheetz to fill in.

“I’m like, whoa, those are some enormous shoes to fill, first of all,” Sheetz said. “I said, ‘Cory, I don’t know what I’m doing.’”

In more than 30 years on the radio, Lopez has worked with a variety of broadcast partners with a variety of skills and experience. Sheetz had never done it, but Lopez said, “She’s a natural. She really is. She’s been fantastic. I think she’s having a blast.”

Shelley Sheetz was a star point guard for the Colorado women’s basketball team from 1991-95 and the only first-team All-American in program history. In 2022, Sheetz returned to CU as the color analyst for radio broadcasts. (

During the non-conference portion of the season, Sheetz enjoyed being a fan for the first time in years. She then joined Lopez on the air during Pac-12 play and has quickly adapted to a new view of the game.

“I knew I could talk basketball,” she said. “I know the game. But at the end of the day, Cory does a great job. He tees me up and I can just talk hoops, but I didn’t realize how much fun this would be.”

In addition to being grateful for Lopez’s partnership and assistance, Sheetz has often reached out to CU football and men’s basketball play-by-play broadcaster Mark Johnson and ESPN’s Debbie Antonelli for advice. In the beginning, Sheetz had some friends listen to the broadcasts and tell her she was being “too coachey” at times in her analysis.

Sheetz has soaked up all of the advice and now feels more comfortable.

“I’m coachable. I’m so coachable,” she said with a laugh. “I think Cory has been great, too. I think Cory and I have a great relationship and I think we feed off each other and we’re just out there talking.

“I don’t know if I’m good. I just talk hoops.”

Lopez said Sheetz brings “a different kind of expertise” than Callan but the transition has been easy.

“I have to be really honest,” Lopez said. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to go because it’s hard for somebody to really transition from being a coach to being a really good color analyst.

“It has been zero to 60 from the start. It has been so much fun. She’s been fantastic. I’m so happy because sometimes people can come in and they don’t do well, or they don’t enjoy it or whatever. She has really taken to it.”

Sheetz has also taken to the team and the team and brought her into the fold. Off the air, Sheetz has had numerous interactions with staff and players, often talking to the guards, in particular, about the game and life.

Through it all, Sheetz has enjoyed being involved in the program again.

“It’s been, really, the first time ever that I’ve been back without coaching at another university,” she said. “I bleed black and gold. I still feel the hurt of the losses and the joy of the wins.”

Sheetz brings her energy to the team, including yelling, “How ’bout them Buffs!” on the bus after a win at UCLA.

“I think sometimes I overwhelm them with my positivity and my energy,” Sheetz joked.

It has actually been much appreciated for a team filled with positive personalities.

Colorado women’s basketball coach JR Payne said she and the team have enjoyed having Shelley Sheetz around the program again this season.

“I think it’s been incredible for all of us,” Payne said of having Sheetz involved with the program again. “Our coaching staff has known her for 20 years. She’s always been someone that was just very genuine and honest, a great spirit and personality. The fact that she is arguably the best player that’s ever played here adds another dimension of connectedness.”

Lopez added, “Shelley’s brought another aspect to this team this year just by simply being around them or on the broadcasts and on the road trips and things like that. I think it’s been invaluable.”

It’s fitting that Sheetz is back during a year in which the Buffs are winning. NCAA Tournament appearances were annual during Barry’s tenure, but CU has been to The Dance just once (in 2013) since 2004.

The Buffs (22-8) are projected to be a part of the 68-team NCAA Tournament field when it’s announced on Sunday. As much as Sheetz is enjoying her radio gig, it doesn’t compare to the joy she feels in seeing CU succeed.

“I’m just proud,” Sheetz said. “I’m very proud for and happy for the staff, but just elated for the players that they’re feeling the success. I want them to be able to cut down nets and hang banners. I really do. I just want this team to be able to raise banners.”

Being a part of the ride has been a thrill for Sheetz. She doesn’t know if she’ll be in this role next year or if she’ll ever return to coaching. For now, she’s just happy Lopez keeps asking her to do the next game. Sheetz was in Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament last week when she was asked about doing radio for the NCAA Tournament.

“I said, ‘Well, if you want me,’” she said. “I just get excited that they keep wanting me to come back because I don’t take anything for granted.”