Where are you now, Sherri Danielson-Fenn?
When you visit Moby Arena, there are five banners hanging from the rafters that signify greatness in retired uniform numbers. For Men’s Basketball it is #24 Bill Green, the 1963 All-American who shattered all scoring records while playing in the old South College Gym. For Women’s Basketball it is #25 Becky Hammon, 1999 All-American who led the Rams to amazing seasons in the late 1990s and has continued in the WNBA for several seasons. Football has two, #21 Eddie Hanna, whose death rocked the campus following a 1949 football game and the great #48 Fum McGraw, who is likely the most well-known CSU athlete of all-time.
The fifth retired jersey is that of Sherri Danielson, who wore #12 playing outside hitter in volleyball for Coach Rich Feller and was named to the 1984 and 1985 All-America teams. She not only became the first superstar in Rams Volleyball history, she helped put CSU on the path to what is today dominance in volleyball nationally.
Danielson came from Colorado’s Evergreen High School in the fall of 1982 after narrowing her decision to play at either Stanford or CSU. Ultimately she chose CSU because of the veterinary program, a profession she had grown up around because her father was a vet.
Her freshman year was a struggle because while playing at Evergreen High School she did not lose one game during her varsity career. That was not the case with Rams Volleyball in 1982. In 1983 Coach Rich Feller and assistant coach Kathy Tye came to CSU and transformed the Rams into winners. Danielson remembered back to the building of CSU volleyball, “Rich made believers out of the players first and then we made believers out of our competition and our fans. It was so much fun to play hard, prove to others that CSU was a volleyball powerhouse and we really came together as a team to reach our goals.”
In 1983, 1984 and 1985, Danielson and her teammates played in the first NCAA tournaments that Rams Volleyball attended. This was thanks to conference championships in 1984 and 1985 won in the High Country Athletic Conference.
Danielson remembered those early tournaments saying, “The most exciting match we played is when we were host to the University of Arizona and we set an NCAA record in attendance. Moby was packed with the most enthusiastic fans and we were the underdogs and upset U of A. It was something I will never forget.”
Danielson also remembers one teammate who helped her especially enjoy the game. She said, “Cindy Cox came in and she was such a dynamic, competitive setter who made hitting outside a blast. She brought our offense to a whole new level.” Danielson’s success in the classroom kept her in close contact with people like Tom Gorell in the Biological Science Department who gave her tremendous academic guidance.
Danielson went on to play in the World University Games in 1985 and then made the US National Team playing from 1985 to 1988. She said of that experience in volleyball, “After my two week tryout I was asked to join the team and it was just an amazing feeling. I moved to California and I have been here since.” She trained rigorously and worked in the US Olympic jobs program. With only 15 spots on the roster, Danielson and her teammates constantly had competition from other athletes coming in to try and take a spot on the US Team.
After being an alternate on the 1988 Olympic team and the first woman inducted into the CSU Sports Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 1988, Danielson retired from volleyball in 1989. Her degree in Biology allowed her to become a veterinary pharmaceutical sales rep in Southern California and then onto national accounts. She was married and later had two sons, so she left her job and became a full-time mom.
Today, Sherri Fenn works a part-time job for Lumina Sports and Media who are exclusive marketers for USA Volleyball. She has returned to volleyball and is excited to be back promoting the sport she loves.
Sherri Danielson-Fenn is still humbled that her number 12 hangs in Moby Arena today. She said of her career at CSU, “People used to ask me how I could have turned down Stanford and I always say I would never trade my experience playing at CSU. I was part of an amazing program in a great town with unbelievable volleyball fans. We had a lot of success and helped put CSU Volleyball on the map. To see the quality players in Tom Hilbert’s program and the teams that continue to play at CSU makes me so proud.”
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