ESPN announcer with N.C. ties to call Wesleyan game


ESPN college basketball analyst Richie Schueler will announce N.C. Wesleyan's basketball game on Wednesday night against Guilford.


Sports Writer

Monday, November 26, 2018

When Richie Schueler found out he was heading to North Carolina to broadcast Wake Forest’s game against Western Carolina this Tuesday, the west coast-based ESPN college basketball color announcer saw an opportunity to see some old friends.

Schueler, who lived in North Carolina for nine years and coached men’s basketball for four years at St. Andrews in Laurinburg, has been friends with first-year N.C. Wesleyan athletic director Aaron Denton since the 2000s, when they were both coaches in the area. When Denton was head coach at two-year Louisburg College, Schueler recruited many of his players.

He’s also friendly with Wesleyan coach John Thompson and his staff, and has known sports information director Troy Baranik since he was a high schooler.

So, when he got the assignment a few weeks ago to cover Wake Forest this Tuesday, he told Denton. And Denton had an idea.

“He said, ‘Why don’t you come and do our game?’” Schueler said. “I thought, ‘Sure, I got no plans.’”

And so it fell into place: For Schueler, it’ll be Wake Forest and the ACC on Tuesday. Then, off to Rocky Mount, to provide color commentary for N.C. Wesleyan of the USA South in the Bishops’ matchup at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday against Guilford.

He’ll do the color commentary, while Kevin Bullock of First Media Radio will provide the play-by-play. Those interested can watch and listen to the game at ncwcsports.com/sports.

Raised in Cincinnati, Schueler played his college basketball at NCAA Division I Evansville before entering the realm of coaching, starting as a graduate assistant at Austin Peay. Entering his fourth year as head coach at St. Andrews in 2011-12, the college lost accreditation, and so Schueler was to be out of a job at the end of the season.

During an exhibition to start that final year against Division I Winthrop, he pulled the other team’s radio announcer aside after an interview and told him he was interested in broadcasting, and that he’d be happy to be his color guy.

And so he did eight games that year and a whole season the next, then moved to Los Angeles as a leap of faith after working full-time for a recruiting agency in Laurinburg.

His first full season with ESPN and its family of networks was in 2013-14; Schueler is now in his sixth season, primarily calling college basketball games for the Mountain West Conference, the West Coast Conference and the Big West Conference.

Tuesday’s Wake Forest game will be his first ACC contest as a color analyst. Wednesday will be his first time calling the USA South, as well, and he’ll be amongst some old friends while he does it.

“It’s really impressive what John Thompson has established with the program over the last several years,” said Schueler, who first met Thompson and his staff through local basketball camp circuits. “Aaron Denton has continued it on. It looks like the campus is growing, more buildings. The atmosphere of the basketball program has seemed to really skyrocket. It’s neat to see a small college and atmosphere like that.”