Former UF quarterback Shane Matthews talks about new role on Gators football radio team
A generation ago, Florida quarterback Shane Matthews was the engine that made Steve Spurrier’s Fun 'n' Gun offense go.
More than 30 years later, Matthews will take on a new role that will again make him a household name to Gator Nation as he becomes the color analyst for UF football games.
The school on Friday officially announced the pairing of Matthews with new play-by-play voice Sean Kelley. The duo will replace play-by-play voice Mick Hubert, who retired in June, and color man and former UF wide receiver Lee McGriff, who stepped down after working with Hubert for 27 years.
“It’s a true honor,” Matthews said. “It’s going to be tough because Lee and Mick had such great chemistry over the years, but it’s kind of a new era so Sean and I kind of start fresh with one another in the Billy Napier era.”
Former QB got experience with road games last season
Matthews did get a head start in the position by filling in for McGriff and doing color commentary for road games last season.
“I’m 0-5 in the booth by the way,” Matthews said. “We haven’t won a game, but I have to tell everybody, you’ve got to play better football. … We were not very good last year.
"I’m going to enjoy it. I want us to win every game possible, knowing that’s not going to happen, but my job is to kind of relate to the people who aren’t watching on TV what’s happening.”
When it comes to making observations and pointing them out on the air, Matthews doesn’t intend to hold back.
“I’m an honest dude,” he said. “I’m going to tell you what my thoughts are. I feel like as a broadcaster or a commentator or whatever, if you don’t tell it like it is, you lose credibility. So, obviously, I want us to play well, but I don’t have a problem being critical at times.”
Matthews brings credibility as a two-time SEC Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991, who passed for 74 TDs and more than 9,000 yards in his college career. He went on to a 14-year NFL career, starting with the Chicago Bears. He’s the son of a high school coach; his father, Bill Matthews, coached him at Pascagoula High School in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
He hosts a podcast, "Pod Up With Matthews In The Morning," Monday through Friday every week on YouTube and Facebook Live, and is on the "Inside the Huddle" radio show every Tuesday on ESPN 98.1/850 WRUF in Gainesville.
“I watch a lot of football,” Matthews said. “I’ve been around it my whole life, being a coach’s son, playing a long time, so it kind of comes naturally.”
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Since arriving at UF from Mississippi, Matthews has made Gainesville home. It remained Matthews’ offseason residence during his NFL career, and he began living in Gainesville full time in 2006. He’s witnessed the highs and lows of the UF football program since, from the championship years under Urban Meyer in 2006 to 2008 to the string of four coaches since Meyer left in 2010. He’s excited about the direction of the program under first-year coach Billy Napier, who will make his debut Sept. 3 when the Gators host No. 8 Utah in The Swamp.
“So many ups and downs,” Matthews said. “It’s been hard for us former players, you want to take pride in your program. I think we have the right guy in place now.”