It's a sad day in the world of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Today we lost one of the great ones. Now you can rest Jeff. http://t.co/TKV8PMJNYl— Kelly Mosier (@kmosier42) July 14, 2015
Jeff Schmahl, the man who made HuskerVision into what it is today, passed away from complications of pancreatic and colon cancer. The death was announced by his son on the blog The Last Train, which Schmahl himself founded and contributed to about his journey with cancer.
Schmahl first came to the limelight in Lincoln partnering with Dick Janda at KOLN in Lincoln, doing sports reporting for the CBS based station for 14 years. He was hired by Bill Byrne to handle the HuskerVision startup that the Athletic Department started in 1995.
Schmahl was not only responsible for the product that appeared in Memorial Stadium, but he was also the man who took charge and produced video content for all the teams at Nebraska, including producing the coaches shows for seven different Nebraska coaches.
After almost a decade at Nebraska, Athletic Director Bill Byrne left to go work for Texas A&M, and Schmahl followed him to College Station to become Senior AD for External Operations. During that time, Schmahl helped out with video production of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Schmahl helped out with both Alpine Skiing and Snowbowarding Video operations.
Schmahl was a four year letterman for Nebraska Tennis, and he received his Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Nebraska. He and his wife Maria had a son, named Zach.
Schmahl was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver back in April of 2014. When he started his site, this is what he had to say about it:
On April 16, 2014, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread to my liver. Cancer…the word that brings fear to the most brave of souls. Mine is inoperable, stage four, and with an average life expectancy of one year. I’ve officially boarded the Last Train. My ticket has been punched, the destination determined, and I’m on board with only the exact time of final departure unknown.
But while I would have preferred to put this trip off for 20 or 30 years, I’m not afraid of my final ride. At least I say that right now. Only time will tell if my thoughts or attitudes change. If they do change, though, I’ll share them here as I take you with me on this journey.
And he did that with grace and wisdom, as he put over 30 updates himself on his site since that first post. However, his son Zack had taken over the site's posting with news of his father.
Thoughts and prayers to the family of Jeff Schmahl & all in Husker Nation who knew this great man & broadcasting pioneer. #huskers— Matt Coatney (@Coatman1) July 14, 2015
My heart aches. My friend Jeff Schmahl is an angel now. https://t.co/IfQb0kQhH7— Rick Allen (@RickAllenracing) July 14, 2015
Mentors. Those who expect more from us than we know we are capable of. Lost mine today. Prayers w/ Zach and Maria. RIP Jeff Schmahl.— Larry Punteney (@LPunt) July 14, 2015
When our time comes, may we all live our final days as Jeff Schmahl did. https://t.co/6lTLAix6re— Husker Mike (@Husker_Mike) July 14, 2015
RIP Jeff Schmahl. Taught us so much in life and death. Everyone should read his blog posts this last year. So long friend. #lasttrain— Tom Shatel (@tomshatelOWH) July 14, 2015
Will always remember Jeff Schmahl on Friday night sports roundup scoreboard show, and for calling the famous Wahoo-Pius hoops game in 1989.— Brian Rosenthal (@HuskerExtraBR) July 14, 2015
Jeff Schmahl, Shot Kleen & Rick Schwieger were first 3 members of HuskerVision staff in 1994, the first season of the Tunnel Walk. #Huskers— Brian Rosenthal (@HuskerExtraBR) July 14, 2015
Our hearts are with Zach and Maria today. A mentor to many, friend to many more. Rest in peace Jeff Schmahl. http://t.co/dumpwPJapA— HuskerVision (@HuskerVisionHD) July 14, 2015
Services are still pending for Schmahl, who was 59 years old.
If you wish to send condolences, the family asks that you send them to this address:
630 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10036