When Romi Bean has eyes on a goal, she always hits driver
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When Romi Bean has eyes on a goal, she always hits driver

May 25, 2023

This story appears in the June issue of Mile High Sports Magazine. Story by Dan Mohrmann. Photos by Doug Ottewill.

After Romi Bean stuck a tee in the ground at Overland Park's Hole No. 1 and placed a golf ball on it, she turned with a quizzical look on her face and had to ask a question.

"Where am I going?"

Toward that barber pole in the middle of the fairway. The green will be left of that.

That first golf hole was almost the perfect parallel to Bean's professional rise in the Denver sports scene. She is going to get there; she just took a different path than most to do it.

Bean has been a lot of things in her life. A state champion at Cherry Creek High School. A Denver Broncos Cheerleader – during two different stretches in her life, in fact. A graduate of the University of Colorado, a brief stint as a California real estate agent, a radio producer and a weekend sports reporter.

Now she's bombing fairways as the first female sports director in the Denver market.

She sits in a chair that was occupied by her predecessor, Michael Spencer, who took over for a man who many consider to be a Colorado broadcasting legend, Vic Lombardi.

She shares a title that has been bestowed on the likes of Ron Zappolo, Jim Conrad, Les Shapiro, and Lionel Bienvenu.

Growing up, it wasn't exactly what she had in mind when thinking about what she wanted to do for her career.

"I was going to be an entrepreneur," she said. "I didn't know what that meant, but my dad was an entrepreneur, so I just wanted to do that. I wanted to go to business school."

She did some speech and debate competition while in high school at Cherry Creek and really got into the idea of researching and storytelling. But when she graduated from high school and enrolled at CU, there was a hesitancy to pursue a field where she could put those abilities to use.

She stuck with her initial plan and went to business school. But while doing that, she had embarked on her first journey into the sports world. After competing for the Cherry Creek Poms team, she tried out to be a Denver Broncos cheerleader and made the squad before she had even graduated from high school.

"My first [cheerleading] training camp was the same Saturday as my senior prom," she said. "Everyone at prom thought it was cool, but the Broncos cheerleader crew was freaking out and telling me ‘Don't drink! Don't do anything stupid!’"

Whether they were taken as orders or words of wisdom, Bean took them seriously. She suited up for the Broncos Cheerleaders for five years before the bright lights of Los Angeles caught her attention.

Working in media still wasn't in her plans and instead she kind of took aim at a normal life.

"I ended up doing a few marketing jobs," she said. "I got my real estate license, and I realized that I literally can't sell shit. So, welp. I can't do this."

She stayed in California for five years and eventually made her way back to Colorado. She got a marketing job but felt pretty unfulfilled in life and felt like she needed a challenge. She decided to try out for the Broncos Cheerleaders again after being away from the squad for five years, a notion that's typically unheard of in that world.

"It's a young woman's sport, just like football is a young man's sport," she said. "I made it again after five years off and nobody had ever done that."

It was a noteworthy enough accomplishment that KOA's Andy Lindahl interviewed her about the accomplishment. That moment provided her a similar spark to the one she felt every time she makes solid contact with the ball on the fairway.

She felt a rush of accomplishment. She knew she could do something bigger and better and in that field. All she needed to do was learn.

(Doug Ottewill)

Like hitting a 6-iron on the fourth fairway, the ball can soar so much higher and so much further – once she learns the proper approach of swinging a club. But the athletic feat of a swing, like the communication aspect of being a media personality, came to her naturally.

She asked Lindahl if she could pick his brain and learn more about working in radio.

"He said he could show me what he does," she said. "He couldn't offer me a job, an internship or anything like that. But I was more than welcome to come observe and shadow."

Once she was in the door, she was hooked. And to her surprise, Lindahl was shocked she showed in the first place.

"I’ve offered this to a lot of people," he told her. "People just don't show up."

"That was my first lesson," she said. "If someone offers you an opportunity, just take it, however big or small it might be."

From there, all she needed was effort and the willingness to learn and grow. Eventually a board-op position opened, and she got it. She worked her way into small on-air roles and producing a show hosted by Lindahl and former Denver Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey.

As her job progressed, so did her standing within the sports media community. She gained the attention of KCNC (CBS4) in Denver and it was then-news director Tim Wieland, the current general manager of the station, who reached out to Bean to ask if she had done TV.

She hadn't, but like she does with anything, cheerleading, golf, breaking into media at all, she showed interest and expressed it to Wieland.

He asked if she had a demo reel she could send over.

"No, I don't," Bean said with a laugh. "So, I went out and taped what I thought would be TV hits. I put together a reel that was absolutely not a reel. But I thought it was a reel."

Nevertheless, they brought her into test and ended up giving her a part-time opportunity. She was working Broncos previews and recaps on Mondays and Fridays, all the while still performing as a cheerleader for the team.

"That was the toughest part and the toughest thing to balance," she said. "There was this immense amount of pressure to prove myself and show that I wasn't just a cheerleader that wanted to be on TV.

"I thought people would embrace it more, but there was way more pressure and skepticism than I thought there would be. For me, that was motivating so I was going to prove everyone wrong."

Shawna Peters, director of the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders, knew a side of Bean that the media might not have quite yet seen.

"Romi was passionate about sports beyond the poms," said Peters, who was a Broncos Cheerleader from 1993 to ’97, and has held four roles within the organization ever since; she's been director since 2014 and coached Bean during the Broncos 2015 Super Bowl season. "Romi acted as the team analyst, regularly coaching her teammates in draft picks, season-changing acquisitions, weekly roster changes and key plays. Even then she analyzed the game from a place of knowledge, curiosity and passion.

"She probably cheered so she could have the best seat in the house."

It doesn't take long to spend time with Bean and understand both her desire to improve in whatever she's working on and her competitive spirit. On the very first hole at Overland, she lagged a putt to well within "gimme" range and her face told the whole story of her capabilities.

She can do this.

(Doug Ottewill)

It was the same mindset when it came to performing with the Broncos cheerleaders, learning tricks of the tradein media and transitioning from radio to television.

Her stint in real estate can be chalked up to playing from the bunkers. No one wants to hit out of the sand.

There were several perceptions she had to battle as she grew into her role. On top of not wanting to be "just a cheerleader" who wants to be on TV, her educational background didn't match the field she was working.

"I wasn't trained, and I felt like there was a lot of kind of having to deal with that imposter syndrome, which I feel like is a big thing nowadays," she said. "Even now, I feel like I still struggle with that sometimes because I didn't go to journalism school, and I learned everything on the fly. My first year when I went full-time on TV, I thought I knew what I was doing. I didn't have the slightest clue. I didn't have the slightest clue of what a package is, what a ‘vo/sot’ is, or how to actually write properly for TV."

The hidden secret to media is that experience is the best education. And if anyone out there was ready to criticize Bean for lack of journalism education, they may have to fight Lombardi next.

"People make too much of the school that's necessary for this business," he said. "All it takes is someone who is willing to communicate the message properly. I majored in history. There are people who never took journalism classes that are just naturals.

"She was very creative and entertaining. If you want to get into this business, you can't just inform. You have to entertain, and she had that quality in the bag. She has another layer and element to her in that she's funny. She's humorous and she does her work and I think that's what I appreciate the most about what Romi does."

Bean's validation came when Spencer moved to the news side to take the anchor chair vacated with the retirement of Jim Benemann. With the sports director spot now open, Bean felt it was time to approach management about something that the Denver market had never seen – a female sports director.

But they beat her to it.

"I was going to approach them and then they talked to me the week before I approached them," she said. "Once they posted [the position], we went up and kind of had a conversation about it. It was one of those times where I felt like I had worked so hard for that, but also at the same time, was I ready for that next leap? And the big question was, was Denver ready for the first lead female sports anchor?"

Only time will tell because she was offered the job and jumped in headfirst. There hasn't been any faking it, she didn't get to where she's at out of pity or because she has a famous family member or anything like that.

And she damn sure isn't just a cheerleader who wants to be on TV.

The work is important to her. She feels her duty to her colleagues, viewers and maybe more importantly, herself, is to put the best product she can on-air.

Anything she does, she's going to give 100 percent and that's why she's sitting in the chair she sits each night.

Walking off the golf course after nine holes, she wants to take the same approach to the game.

"I’m hooked," she said. "I don't think there's a more humbling sport, honestly. I think it's so much like my career though. Sometimes I feel like I nail an interview, then I’ll ask four dumb questions and I feel like hopefully I ask less dumb questions next time. With golf, you hit one good shot and then the next four are terrible."

It's like Roy McAvoy tells Molly Griswold in the opening scene of Tin Cup.

"You hit just one good shot… it’ll keep you coming back."

Romi wants to come back. And if her golf game is anything like her media career, she’ll be hunting birdies in no time.

(Doug Ottewill)

Dan Mohrmann is the editor-in-chief of Colorado Preps and a part-time contributor to Mile High Sports. His career at MHS began in 2010, he then started covering high school athletics for CHSAANow.com in 2014 before returning to MHS to take over Colorado Preps in 2022.

Dan Mohrmann is the editor-in-chief of Colorado Preps and a part-time contributor to Mile High Sports. His career at MHS began in 2010, he then started covering high school athletics for CHSAANow.com in 2014 before returning to MHS to take over Colorado Preps in 2022.