LINCOLN — Jake Muhleisen didn’t like the blue.
He didn’t like having to get up every morning and pull on the blue sweats or the blue polo and walk into the Qwest Center, full of fans in blue and white.
The former Husker guard wanted to be a coach. And figured, after four years in Lincoln, he should get some experience from a different coach and a new program. But two years at Creighton as a graduate assistant with Dana Altman was enough. He didn’t want long hours and zero weekends like a coach. So in 2007, he dropped his dream of coaching to became a banker.
Muhleisen missed the game. And for 12 years, dropped hints to people inside the Nebraska basketball program he’d love to help out however he could. Those hints have payed off for Muhleisen, who will be Nebraska’s new color analyst on the Husker Sports Network this year, joining play-by-play announcer Kent Pavelka.
“Dana was great, and I learned a lot from him,” Muhleisen said. “I had a lot of fun up there but being back on the Huskers side, it’s good to be back on this side of things.”
Muhleisen played in 100 games for Nebraska from 2001 to 2005, starting 98 times. He averaged 9.1 points, 2.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds. The Huskers went 56-61 under Barry Collier in those years, and made the second round of the NIT in 2004.
Muhleisen holds the Devaney Center close to his heart and vividly remembers games against Kansas and Oklahoma State in front of a raucous Devaney crowd. Calling games in Pinnacle Bank Arena will bring that old feeling back, he said.
“I’m excited for this year and to be alongside Pavelka, and I see us having an awesome season,” Muhleisen said. “(Pavelka) deserves to be the guy to call the game when Nebraska goes to the tournament and when they win a tournament game. And to be part of that will be an honor, for sure.”
For the past five Husker seasons, Muhleisen has subbed in for Matt Davison, who is leaving the basketball radio booth after several years next to Pavelka. With the hiring of Scott Frost, Davison was promoted to associate athletic director for football.
Muhleisen, a Lincoln native, grew up listening to Nebraska basketball broadcasts in the 1990s. When he was called in to go live on the air for the first time in 2013, with no broadcast experience, he thought back to those childhood broadcasts and winged it.
“I did a decent enough job that I got invited back again,” Muhleisen said. “I don’t know if I’d consider myself very good or not, but feedback from friends and people on social media seem to think I’m doing a decent job. I’d always ask my wife and parents and they’d be blunt with me if I needed to do better.”
Muhleisen will continue in his position at Union Bank while he calls games with Pavelka. For a basketball fan like Muhleisen, this opportunity couldn’t come at a better time. Nebraska is picked to finish near the top of the Big Ten and projected by many to make the NCAA tournament.
“I think we got a group of guys that have been playing for quite awhile together and they’re calling them the Core Four, with Isaiah Roby, Isaac Copeland, Glynn Watson and James Pamer. When they get going, we’re going to be hard to stop,” Muhleisen said.
Muhleisen’s first broadcast will be on Nov. 1 when Nebraska starts the season with an exhibition against Wayne State.
“I’m extremely grateful to have this opportunity and just be close to the team and get to know the guys and be around basketball again,” Muhleisen said. “From an early age, basketball was pretty much all I did. So when I took time off, I missed it. I’m excited to be back.”