By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – It takes hard work and dedication to succeed in the sports industry.
But you don’t have to tell Jack Mohr that. He’s already well aware.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney senior has a pretty good mentor – national sports broadcaster Brenda VanLengen.
“She kind of got me into sports and showed me the career you can have in it,” Mohr said of his aunt.
A former Loper basketball player, VanLengen graduated from UNK in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in business education and coached at Kearney High School and Nebraska before starting her broadcasting career. She’s been a play-by-play commentator and analyst for more than two decades, working for ESPN, Fox Sports and other national networks.
Her nephew is taking a similar path, except he’s more interested in the business side of sports.
“I have a lot of different dreams,” Mohr said, the biggest being a job in an NBA team’s front office.
VanLengen, who also happens to be a motivational speaker, would tell him to pursue his passion with enthusiasm and fearlessness. “If you are going to accomplish goals and dreams in your life, you have to make it happen. You have to step forward and be the one who takes the initiative,” she said in a 2018 interview with UNK Communications.
That’s exactly what Mohr is doing.
So @therealjackmohr, is your next gig acting? 😉
So proud of you! Outstanding Sports Management and Marketing Award, graduating Summa Cum Laude and carrying the Business and Technology banner at @UNKearney graduation. #ProudAunt #3rdgenLoper #LopesUp https://t.co/98lfLxNVjO
— Brenda VanLengen (@BrendaVanLengen) May 5, 2023
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Like his aunt, the North Platte native is a former college athlete. He played basketball at Central Community College in Columbus before transferring to UNK in August 2020. His mother Angie and several other relatives also attended college in Kearney, and his younger brother Kade is a UNK freshman studying sports communication.
“The biggest reason why I chose UNK is because I had a lot of family who came here,” Mohr said. “They had a lot of success here, so they had good things to say about it. I thought it would be a great fit.”
For the past two years, he worked as a paid intern in UNK Athletics. Mohr describes his position as a “jack of all trades.”
“When you start early, they teach you everything and you kind of just get thrown into the fire,” he said. “I got to dabble in a lot of different areas within the athletic department, and I’m really appreciative for it because it gave me a greater understanding of what college athletics is all about.”
Instead of focusing on a specific task day after day, Mohr got to experience the full range of responsibilities, from ticket sales and in-game promotions to event setup and teardown. He was also heavily involved in marketing and broadcasting through video production and content creation, plus he managed the UNK men’s basketball social media accounts.
“With the amount of experience I have, I can really demonstrate why it’s important to go to a smaller college like this. At the Division II level, you get to see the full scope of the athletic department,” he said.
Jeff Babl, a video production coordinator who leads the LoperVision team, called him a self-starter who’s always looking for ways to learn.
“Jack helped me out immensely. He’s a charismatic person who wasn’t afraid to work in front of or behind the camera. He was constantly asking intelligent questions and he did a great job of developing relationships with the student-athletes to help promote them,” Babl said.
In addition to his work with UNK Athletics, Mohr completed an internship last summer with Peak Sports MGMT in Conway, Arkansas, primarily focusing on corporate sponsorships. He was also an intern for two years at the UNK Alumni Association and University of Nebraska Foundation, where he helped launch The Range, a LinkedIn-style online platform that connects Loper graduates and current students.
Back on campus, he was involved in the College of Business and Technology Student Ambassadors program and served as a campus visit assistant.
“Jack is one of those students who wants to be involved and is willing to take risks and try new things to see if they work,” said professor Nita Unruh, chair of the UNK Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences. “He has a bright future in sports management, particularly in marketing and development. He makes it a point to get to know people and ask questions, then use that information to better prepare himself and the projects he’s directly involved in.”
Mohr credits his professors in both the College of Education and College of Business and Technology for providing the networking and hands-on learning opportunities that helped prepare him for his future.
“They’re really here for your success,” he said.
An outstanding senior in the Department of Marketing, Agribusiness and Supply Chain Management, Mohr graduates magna cum laude on Friday. He’ll represent the College of Business and Technology as a gonfalonier during the commencement ceremony, an honor recognizing his achievements, scholarship and activity at UNK.
Currently, he plans to attend Washburn University to pursue a Master of Business Administration degree and work as a graduate assistant in the athletic department there.
“I’m proud to say I came to UNK because I feel like my experience has been very beneficial,” Mohr said. “The biggest things for me were building my resume, making great connections and getting as much industry experience as I can. I’ve put in the effort to set myself up for success.”