Person You Should Know: Jim Krueger
Jim Krueger (left) serves as the official scorekeeper at SPASH basketball games along side game announcer Tim Heesen.
Story and photo by Robert Whitmire
Jim Krueger- a.k.a. Mr. Stats- is the man with the all the answers when it comes to almost anything relating to high school or college sports in Central Wisconsin.
More often than not, Krueger can answer just about any local sports- related question from memory. He has worked in radio and print media and is known throughout the area as a consummate professional.
“Perhaps the best thing I can say about Jim Krueger is that he is a wonderful person and a tremendous role model for all the people he works with, especially the young,” said Scott Krueger, WSPT Sports Director. “He has worked with me on the air as an analyst during sports broadcasts and helped me to learn many things about the games we were broadcasting. Jim is a community treasure and a dear friend.”
Born in Wausau, Jim moved to Stevens Point at age 10. He graduated from Pacelli High School and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he earned a degree in communications.
During his college career Jim served on the stats crew for Pointer football and basketball, worked part-time at the Stevens Point Journal, WSPT and WWSP radio and he spent his summers as the statistician for the Stevens Point Sixers American Legion Baseball Team. He was nicknamed “Mr. Stats” by Sixers pitcher Tom Porter.
“I began doing stats as a sophomore at Pacelli for the Cardinal football team and then branched out to be a statistician- slash- manager for the school’s basketball, baseball and track teams,” Krueger said. He went on to write sports news for the school’s publication The Cardinal’s Beak and was later inducted into the Pacelli Hall of Fame as a Special Contributor in 2006.
Krueger says he spent many years compiling stats for all Wisconsin Valley Conference and Central Wisconsin Catholic Conference before it dissolved in 2000. Today he’s responsible for creating the sports programs handed out to SPASH game attendees, as well as serving for the official scorekeeper for Panther boys and girls basketball and volleyball, wrestling and boys and girls swimming. Every March he sets the seeding for the Point Invitational boys and girls indoor track meets, which typically brings more than 60 teams to Stevens Point.
SPASH Director of Athletics Stephanie Hauser calls Krueger a “true asset”.
“Not only does he work at many SPASH events as a scorekeeper, a timer, a statistician, and an announcer but he is a local historian about sports- UWSP, Pacelli and SPASH,” Hauser said. She added Krueger is also responsible for most of the music played over the PA system during games.
Jim has worked with WIAA for the past decade, creating a computer program for recording scores and stats for golf and tennis teams and also developed an online application form for the scholar-athlete program the program.
In his spare time, Krueger said he enjoys volunteering at St. Joseph Parish, walking through Schmeekle Reserve, bike riding and participating in the annual trivia contest. But his heart belongs to sports.
“I’m a firm believer in the value of high school athletics, and for the past 23 years, I’ve been lucky to work with great coaches, athletic directors and athletes at SPASH, Pacelli, and other schools,” he said.
Tom Shafranski, a fellow Paceill alum of Krueger’s, recalled their early days growing up on Jefferson Street.
“His uncle and aunt ran the corner store, Grubba’s Grocery,” said Shafranski, who attended St. Joseph’s Elementary one year behind Krueger. “We played on the St. Joe’s Jets basketball team as well as the Pacelli basketball teams. Jim is truly a person who loves high school athletics.”
Shafranski said Krueger’s work at Pacelli, SPASH, The Wisconsin Valley Conference and the WIAA makes him responsible for a large chunk of history and memories for sports aficionados.
“Jim is certainly a person people throughout central Wisconsin should know about,” Shafranski said.