The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

JOURNAL: On the Mic

Photo by Keifer Russell
Mike Jakubowski (second from right, black glasses) has been announcing the basketball programs since 2004.

The lights dim, the fire cannons are ablaze and the crowd begins to cheer as the hype video plays on the jumbotron. But whose voice comes booming through the arena that makes everyone go wild?

That would be none other than Marquette’s public address announcer, Mike Jakubowski.

Jakubowski has been announcing the basketball programs since 2004. As a Marquette alum, Jakubowski says that it has been a dream come true working for his alma mater.

“It’s insane. It’s wonderful,” Jakubowski says. “I’m not kidding, every time I walk in there, I can’t believe that it’s my voice that’s coming out of the microphone.”

Jakubowski also serves as the Director of Video Operations at the Panther Arena, home of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers. Despite all the hats he currently wears, he says that the job never gets old.  

“It doesn’t matter if there’s two people there, if there’s 50 people there, if there’s 14,000 people there if it’s a full stadium,” Jakubowski says. “Every single time you show up and have a microphone in your hand, it’s an honor to present those elements.”

Bob Brainard, a former Marquette PA announcer, says that Jakubowski brings immense energy and devotion to his role.

“He’s a Marquette guy,” Brainard says. “He comes off as a true alum with his passion for bringing enthusiasm to the Marquette basketball games, men’s and women’s. You don’t always have to be an alum, but in Mike’s case, it helps him do his job and he doesn’t have to fake it.” 

Jakubowski says he learned about the job opening from a former Marquette graduate, who was the PA announcer for the women’s program at the time. 

“Prior to my first season, she came home from a women’s basketball game and the producer she was working with said they were looking for someone for the men’s program,” Jakubowski says. “I looked at her and said, ‘Throw my hat in the ring.’” 

Before Jakubowski agreed to audition for the role, he called Brainard, who was being replaced, to ask for his consent. 

He wanted my blessing,” Brainard says. “The fact that he would call me, the fact that he was conscious enough to say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to hurt your feelings.’ It speaks volumes of who he is.”

Jakubowski says that with new positions, he always strives to be compassionate and appreciative, which is why he did not hesitate to reach out to Brainard. 

“I had always wanted to be very respectful of those that preceded me and then eventually whoever replaces me,” Jakubowski says. “I wanted to reach out and just get a sense of what had happened before, to acknowledge that contribution and then with my opportunity to move forward.”

Brain Begley, Director of Game Presentation and Fan Experience at Marquette, works closely with Jakubowski during each game. 

“He’s not just content with what’s he doing,” Begley says. “He’s always trying to find ways to be better at what he does and continue to grow and challenge himself. That’s important too for someone who’s been doing it and is a pro, but it’s never settled.”

An example of this mentality is shown in the age-old call and response between Jakubowski and the band at the end of every game. The band says, “Goodnight, Mike!” and Jakubowski responds, “Goodnight, band! Be nice.”

“That’s been a tradition forever at Marquette, preceding me,” Jakubowski says. “Part of being a ‘Marquetter,’ you attack it from a different angle. My little twist on it is my dad always told us to be nice, so I always tell the band to be nice.” 

Mari Crowley, a sophomore in the College of Communication, says that as a pep band member, she could not imagine another voice echoing throughout the arena.

“His voice is just so iconic and recognizable that it’s always so exciting to hear,” Crowley says. “(He) just always brings the hype. If it was anyone else, I can’t believe that it would be anymore exciting because it is always just incredible.” 

Despite the intense energy that the crowd brings, Jakubowski says that he doesn’t always feel it due to his intense focus during the games. 

“Physically sitting down in the eye of the hurricane, that’s where it’s the calmest,” Jakubowski says. “You have to be calm in listening for information from referees (and) your producer. Every single thing that comes out of your mouth has to be right at all times. There’s a concentration level that separates you from the overall event.” 

Brainard says that Jakubowski’s focus combined with his sense of humor is how he excels at his craft. 

We have this silliness and we don’t take things too seriously,” Brainard says. “It’s a fun gig, we both know that. We always say we have the best seat in the house. But it is a job, and it is important, and you have to do it the right way because if you screw up, everybody in the building hears.

“There’s a time to have fun and it’s great to be there and to watch your teams front and center. But, at the same time, we want to get the calls right. We want to get the names right.”  

As the game ends and the music fades, Jakubowski says that his job brings him constant happiness in everything he does. 

“It’s a joy every single time,” Jakubowski says. “Every single time I walk in there, through the tunnel, into the opening and the light hits you and you see the cheerleaders warming up and you hear the band warming up and the players are out stretching. Every single time, it just energizes me and it’s impossible not to.” 

This story was written by Kaylynn Wright. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @KaylynnWrightMU.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Kaylynn Wright
Kaylynn Wright, Assistant Sports Editor
Kaylynn Wright is a sophomore from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin studying journalism, and she is an Assistant Sports Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys reading and watching baseball, specifically the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. She is excited to meet new people and continue to create high-quality sports content for the Wire.
Keifer Russell
Keifer Russell, Staff Photographer
Keifer Russell is a junior from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin studying digital media and public relations and is a Staff Photographer of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire he enjoys rock climbing, photography (figures), as well as finding and listening to new music. He is very excited to further refine his photographic content over the next year

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *