Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Scott M

Williams Arena Announcer [PoorWordUsage] Jonckowski

2 posts in this topic

'Polish Eagle' perfect fit for barn

by Jim Souhan, Star Tribune

In 1964, [PoorWordUsage] Jonckowski was standing outside Williams Arena, trying to figure out how to get in to watch his beloved Gophers, when the Michigan team bus pulled up. The great Cazzie Russell stepped out.

Jonckowski asked, "Mr. Russell, do you mind if I carry your bag?" Russell said, "Who cares?"

Jonckowski did. He carried the bag all the way to the Michigan locker room, then sneaked behind the Wolverines bench and stayed there all game.

"Nobody said a word," Jonckowski said. "Just unbelievable."

As he grew up, Jonckowski found a more reliable way to access Gophers games for free. Williams Arena, which celebrated its 81st birthday last Wednesday, has featured just two public address announcers in its history. The first was Jules Perlt, who retired in the mid-1980s. The second is Jonckowski, the self-styled "Polish Eagle," who has worked the mike at Gophers basketball and baseball games since 1986 and spent 10 years working Gophers football games, all the while relishing his prime location and access to successive generations of Gophers athletes and coaches.

Athletes leave or retire young and coaches get fired. Our sporting fixtures so often are the people behind the scenes, or behind the mikes.

"I remember listening to Julie, and he had such a distinct voice," Jonckowski said. "He had a nasal tone. He'd call out, 'McHaaaaale!' I used to imitate him all the time. We'd play our back-yard games, and I'd pretend I was doing the public address."

Some kids dream of game-winning shots, others of introducing the starting lineup. Jonckowski, 65, has fallen into the latter category ever since -- as a kid growing up in New Prague -- he started finding his way into local sporting events, like a Forrest Gump with a home-run call.

In the late '50s and early '60s, Jonckowski became a Boy Scout usher at old Memorial Stadium and in Williams Arena. His father's cousin was in charge of the Boy Scouts, and once he discovered his relative, he gave [PoorWordUsage] a prime assignment -- working behind the bench. Thus, he found himself with up-close-and-personal access to the Gophers' two Rose Bowl teams.

"And in basketball, I usually had a place close to the floor," Jonckowski said. "I had a good deal."

He made $60 a week in public relations for the Muskies and Pipers in the American Basketball Association, where he worked with Bob Casey, who would become the legendary misspeaking Twins announcer. "Bob gave me a lot of advice," Jonckowski said. "I always wondered if he made those mistakes on purpose."

Jonckowski even worked as a head field usher for the Vikings in the '60s and '70s. "They put me on the field, and I was kind of a hot dog," he said. "So somebody said, 'Let's put [PoorWordUsage]'s name on the back of his jacket, with three stars.'

"Bud Grant used to go crazy, saying, 'Jonckowski is in all of our game films.' I caught 112 field goals in 17 years, and seven passes that were thrown out of bounds. That was a great deal for me, because everybody knew who I was from those crazy days."

Jonckowski emceed numerous Gophers charity events for former athletic director Paul Giel, and when Perlt retired, Giel told Jonckowski he would be a leading candidate to replace Perlt. When Jonckowski struck up a friendship with Clem Haskins, he pushed for Jonckowski and the rest is Williams Arena history.

Jonckowski is ebullient by nature. He began his career in radio, but after working "for an alcoholic" in Ladysmith, Wis., he returned home to work at KSMM (AM-1530) in Shakopee. When the station went to a religious format, Jonckowski became a guest speaker and emcee, offering the motto "Laugh and Live Longer." "I've done 30th birthday parties, mock weddings, bowling banquets," he said. "Whenever they need somebody, I can fill the bill."

He does laugh a lot. He used to tell jokes to Haskins before Gophers games. After developing the same relationship with Dan Monson that most people in Dinkytown had -- nonexistent -- he began telling jokes to Tubby Smith before games, to "loosen him up."

The first: "I told Tubby before his first game, 'My wife ran away with my best friend, and man, do I miss him.' Just crazy stuff like that. Tubby will come over before every game and say, 'Give me a quick one.' I try to make him laugh, help him relax."

He knows his role.

***************************************

I had [PoorWordUsage] record my voicemail message on my old phone in college. He is pretty beloved in Williams. I can still remember some pretty big calls. He would stretch out player's names. Sam Jaayy-ccoobbssooon! Erriicc Harrrriiisss!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He is a funny guy.

My wife knows him really well as she and her brothers were very involved in Shakopee B-Ball.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • He was talking about updating and upgrading our nuclear weapons,  which aren't related to the middle east.    Getting the 53 brigade combat teams up to readiness standards also will cost money.  
    • How much of that $6 trillion do you suppose is military spending?  I’d venture to guess a large amount of it.  Now while he talks about spending so much in the middle east and ignoring issues at home he apparently wants to add an additional $54 billion to the defense budget which will more than likely be funneled back into the middle eat one bomb at a time.   He might make sense in what he says from time to time but then his actions seem immediately contradict his words. Should we believe the words or the actions more?
    •  Decriminalization only makes small possession and usage kinda illegal.    Laws still have to be upheld.   Mexican cartels still would not be allowed to ship tons of cocaine over the boarder. Doctor still can't write false scripts.  Gangs still cannot run drug dens Staus quo     Just push for complete legalization. Regulate through the government. Lower the cost of product.     Cross your fingers you don't get a Russian heroine epidemic.    Freedom restored.      
    • "We spend $6 trillion in the Middle East, and we have potholes all over our highways and our roads"

      Every now and then it is hard to argue with Trump, the positives aren't many but he is not wrong about everything.
    •     Also, how do you explain the growth rate of U.S. incarcerations since Nixon began the War on Drugs in 1971?   You don't think there is big money involved in prisons?       http://fox6now.com/2017/02/25/private-prison-stocks-up-100-since-president-trumps-win/          
    • DALLAS TRADES BENN to Montreal !!!!!!   Jordie   for a 4th round pick and some no-name....Jordie was bad and playing worse lately
    •   He won't ask anyone's advice - that's a big part of the problem.  But judging by his actions and words, he fully intends to return to the criminalization/prison approach.  You know, the method that was a complete failure in the past.   Why wouldn't pharma be worried about heroin and meth?  They make versions of both, so it is direct competition.  There is also real life evidence to suggest that marijuana can be used as a replacement for opioids for pain, so that is a reason for them to be opposed to the legalization of weed, also.  Do you have a better explanation as to why Trump wants to step up enforcement of federal laws against legal purveyors of marijuana according to their state law, rather than simply changing the FDA/DEA classification?                   They would be comparable, except they have spent close to a trillion dollars on the War on Drugs since Nixon signed it into law,      
    •   Is this speculation or do you have a source for this information?    
    • Without media, you will only get what news from the party in control that they wish to give you. With no freedom of the press, no matter what they say, you will eventually lose more than the 1rst. amendment.  Let's see what happens when the President addresses Congress and if it's a rally speech or a substance speech with policy? If it's just rah-rah??, with the corrupt  media,----make up your own mind.  
    • If you ever want to feel like a puny human, go mess with those big boys. Nice pics!
  • Our Sponsors