June 19, 2009
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State Rams have a new voice.
Veteran broadcaster Jerry Schemmel has accepted an offer to become the Rams' play-by-play announcer for football and men's basketball broadcasts on the Colorado State Radio Network. Mark Devine, Vice President/West Coast Properties of Nelligan Sports Marketing, made the announcement in conjunction with the CSU athletic department on Friday.
"Our fans listening over the air and on CSURams.com will have one of the most reputable and well-known announcers in the country painting a picture for them," Colorado State Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk said. "I'm ecstatic that we've secured an individual with the talents, skills and experience Jerry possesses."
Fans best know Schemmel for that role, calling play-by-play for the Denver Nuggets, who just concluded their most successful season in 24 years, advancing to the NBA's Western Conference Finals.
Schemmel will continue in his role as the Nuggets' announcer on the Altitude Radio Network for home contests at the Pepsi Center, and as a host and analyst on selected programs for the Altitude Sports & Entertainment television network.
History of the Voice of the Rams
Schemmel replaces the late Rich Bircumshaw, who passed away unexpectedly in April, as the Voice of the Rams. Schemmel is only the fourth individual to hold the position in the last two decades, following Bircumshaw (2002-09), Wyatt Thompson (1996-01) and Steve Anderson (1989-96). Prior to Anderson, Gene Benson (1987-88), Mike Haffner (1985-86), Larry Zimmer (1983-84), Mike Nolan (1980-82) and Al Trask (1979) called Rams action over the last 30 seasons.
Prior to Trask, several other announcers called Rams contests since Fort Collins station KCOL first began airing Colorado A&M football games in the 1940s.
In addition to his play-by-play duties, Schemmel also will host weekly coaches shows airing on the CSU Radio Network. The Coors Light Steve Fairchild Radio Show and the Coors Light Basketball Coaches Radio Show, with men's Head Coach Tim Miles and women's Head Coach Kristen Holt, air live from the Stonehouse Grille in Old Town Fort Collins during the respective football and basketball seasons. Fans are encouraged to participate, either in person, over the phone or by e-mailing questions through CSURams.com.
An experienced inspirational speaker who makes 25-30 appearances annually, Schemmel also is expected to emcee luncheons, certain sport program banquets, and other fundraising events for the CSU athletic department.
Having navigated a sportscasting career that spans a quarter century, Schemmel has been the voice of the Nuggets since 1992. He also has other radio and television play-by-play experience in professional and major college sports.
Schemmel is an athlete, a college baseball coach, a licensed lawyer, a former deputy commissioner of the Continental Basketball Association and an author, but he's perhaps best known for having survived United Flight 232.
On July 19, 1989, 20 years ago this summer, Schemmel boarded a flight from Denver to Chicago that would experience a mid-air engine explosion, crippling the plane and forcing it to crash land in Sioux City, Iowa. Of the 296 on board, 112 perished. After miraculously walking away from the aircraft, Schemmel went back into the wreckage to save a baby.
Following the experience, Schemmel wrote Chosen to Live, chronicling the crash and its subsequent effects on his life. The book has been featured in such publications as Reader's Digest, Hoop magazine, Sports Spectrum and Guideposts, and spawned a number of guest appearances on programs including Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, 48 Hours, CBS This Morning, Turning Point, Today, The Hour of Power, Good Morning America and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
During the summers of 2003 and 2004, Schemmel rode a bicycle across the United States as a fundraiser for two Denver-area charities. The efforts raised $250,000.
In the fall of 2006, Schemmel was hired by Metro State College as a part-time assistant baseball coach. Promoted to head coach prior to this past season, he led the Roadrunners to a 28-24 overall record.
Schemmel earned a law degree in 1985 from Washburn University, after receiving his undergraduate degree from the school in 1982. He also played baseball at Washburn and later was an assistant coach at the school for three years.
Having grown up in Madison, S.D., Schemmel and his wife, Diane, make their home in Littleton with their daughter, Maggie, and son, Ryan. He arrives at CSU with existing Mountain West ties, as his brother, Jeff, is the athletic director at San Diego State.
The CSU broadcast team
Now that Colorado State has its play-by-play announcer, Nelligan and the athletic department will work to secure the other positions on the football and men's basketball broadcast team. Discussions with the Rams' announcers last season are expected to begin immediately.