Late Monday night, the new public-address announcer at Memorial Stadium received a phone call from a Nebraska official.
Jon Schuetz, a native of North Bend, Nebraska, was about to lose the job he’d landed a week ago.
The Nebraska official began reading a nine-month-old Facebook post in which Schuetz criticized the NU administration after Bo Pelini’s firing. Schuetz hadn’t even thought about the post since last winter. He certainly didn’t remember it when he interviewed for the PA job.
But now, as his own words were read to him, Schuetz said he cringed.
Schuetz didn’t disclose the contents of the message on Tuesday, but a screen grab of a Schuetz Facebook post circulating online and dated Nov. 30, 2014, says this:
Harvey Perlman is as (sic) disgrace. Remember this was the guy who extended Steve Pederson’s contract only to fire him a few months later. When will he be held to account?
Tuesday Schuetz received word from Nebraska that his rant went too far. He won’t call the season opener, or any game after that.
“I probably made some uninformed statements,” said Schuetz, 51, who spent 24 years in broadcasting.
“If I were in their shoes, I would’ve done the same thing. I’ve hired people. I get it. ... If you say something about a prospective future employer, it’s legitimate to say if you’re not on board with what we do here, maybe you shouldn’t be here.”
“I respect the decision. I hold no hard feelings toward anybody down there. The worst part is I feel like I’ve left some great people at HuskerVision in a difficult situation just a few days before the first game of the season.”
The university released a statement Tuesday afternoon that said “after reviewing the post, highly critical of university leadership and, after thorough internal discussion, we visited with Jon, who was extremely apologetic and agreed with our decision that he cannot represent the university in such a public capacity.”
The statement also named Lane Grindle as the new public address announcer. Grindle will continue some of his duties with the Husker IMG Sports Network, which includes doing the pre- and post-game radio shows during home games and serving as the sideline reporter for away games. Former NU quarterback Steve Taylor, also with the Husker IMG Sports Network, will replace Grindle as the sideline reporter for Husker home games.
Schuetz, who’s been a financial advisor since 2010, had no intention of pursuing the public-address job. But when long-time PA voice Patrick Combs was accused of stealing more than $360,000 from two elderly women, Nebraska moved fast to find a replacement.
Schuetz grew up listening to Husker games on radio. Memorial Stadium was a “mythical place.” He still remembers seeing it in person for the first time when he was a 9- or 10-year-old. He was a natural fit to call the action.
“When you grow up in Nebraska, gameday, to just be a small part of that, who wouldn’t want to do that?” Schuetz said.
Schuetz had already started practicing for Saturday. Now he won’t get the chance.
During his broadcasting career, which included being the sports director for KETV in Omaha, Schuetz tried “really hard” to stay out of controversy, he said. He’s an opinionated guy, but he didn’t want to be an opinionated broadcaster.
“One of the lines I frequently use is you don’t always have to voice everything that’s on your mind. That would’ve been good advice for me. Take your own advice. ...
“I don’t want to quote Bo Pelini, but you point the finger at yourself. You have to.”
Schuetz admits that Pelini “didn’t prove worthy of that support” with the way he exited. But back in November, Schuetz didn’t like seeing people lose their job.
Schuetz said he’s always tried to instill in his children that “you stand up for what you believe in and stand by what you say.
“If you make a mistake, own up to it. I’m doing that. Trying to.”